Tag Archives: comedy

Fringe benefits for Ventnor as live performances receive acclaim

THE eleventh annual Ventnor Fringe festival splashed its usual spectrum of eclectic arts onto the town’s landscape last week.

Having first been held in 2010, the event was postponed last year as a result of the pandemic.

Among wide-ranging entertainment on offer, Billy Nomates delighted a sold-out Harbourside crowd on Tuesday night.

The singer’s oft deadpan and unapologetically anarchic eloquence stuck two fingers up at the conformity of routine, invoking the spirit of throwback rebellion-fuelled punk.

Billy NoMates. Credit Chris Drums.

Particular highlights were the explosive No and melodic Emergency Telephone – the latter providing floaty vocals as a juxtaposition to lyrics venomous in undertone.

A breathless, exciting performance from this wonderfully exciting musician received a fully deserved, prolonged ovation from an appreciative audience who braved strong gusts to ensure, in contrast to her name, Billy was on this evening embraced by hundreds of mates.

Comedian Lou Sanders, best known for her live stand-up performances and appearances on a slew on popular television shows such as Taskmaster and QI, performed in the Magpie Tent later on the same evening.

Another sell-out, a circa 45-minute developmental set exhibited the comic’s natural timing, with a predominantly youthful audience enjoying watching the process in action.

Mention of her dating life provided the apex for an unpredictable performance which seemed to fly by.

Comedian Lou Sanders. Photo credit: Ventnor Fringe.

Inevitably with such fresh material, there were occasional flat-liners, although these were heavily outweighed by the seasoned comic timing and spur of the moment observations synonymous with an intoxicating artist.

In particular, Sanders – no relation to former talk show host Larry despite rumours to the contrary – was at her prickly zenith when deviating from the (literal) script in conversation with members of the audience.

There was a further shot of high-profile comedy on Saturday evening, as Ali Woods dusted off his award-winning chops for a stand-up show inside Ventnor Arts Club.

The 2020 Hackney Empire New Act of the Year is a captivating storyteller and has the vital ingredient of being able to gradually pace narrative towards an explosive conclusion.

Woods was a little unfortunate the audience included a handful of children, meaning he was forced to tone down the set slightly and avoid a couple of jokes, and he would benefitted from a larger venue.

Comedian Ali Woods.

Nevertheless, his cocktail of self-deprecating anecdotes, pandemic observations and a thread surrounding mental illness made this arguably the most rewarding comedy performance of the entire week.

Ali told Kureen: “I loved performing at the Ventnor Fringe for the first time! The locals are wonderfully friendly even if they walk a bit slowly.

“I performed in two shows so I think I managed to perform to everyone in the town! I cannot wait to be back — lovely place, lovely people.”

The ratings…

Billy NoMates:
Lou Sanders:
Ali Woods:

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Interviews with Creative Minds. No.10: Bobbin Dixon

Bobbin Dixon – possibly the greatest fore and surname to collide since the equally sublime Tyler Durden was seen jiggling Meatloaf’s mammaries in Fight Club 16 years ago.

Not only does Bobbin possess a dandy moniker, he also happens to be the Isle of Wight’s pre-eminent comedy maestro and a south-coast trotting compère to boot.

(Apologies for the slight audio hiss; noise cancelling my ar*e!)

To get in touch with “Mr No Days Off”, you can catch him through any of these social site links;

Twitter (acceptable)
Facebook fan page (encouraged)
Facebook personal page (a wee bit creepy)

Also kind thanks to Signals for the use of Square Wheels, and Fozzy for ‘Enemy’, either of which can be downloaded by clicking their respective band name. 

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Rik Mayall 1958-2014

The passing of one of Britain’s most beloved comedians at the tender age of 56 might have shocked and distressed his myriad of admirers, but had Rik Mayall become one of the forgotten jewels of the slapstick scene? Dom Kureen takes a look at the career of an extraordinary man.

Young Ones

It was more than 16 years ago that Richard Michael “Rik” Mayall suffered a life-threatening, coma-inducing quad bike accident on the grounds of his home in Devon.

Spending almost five days in a coma, a result of the double haematoma and fractured skull sustained during the crash, the star of shows such as Bottom, The Young Ones and The New Statesman thankfully regained consciousness and almost 100% of his motor skills after having blood drained from two fifths of his brain.

Mayall had always been a creature of instinct, renowned for a devil-may-care philosophy that extended far beyond his public persona, ensuring that he was never adverse to risk taking.

Post-1998 a very different incarnation of the man replaced a thrill seeking predecessor, with those closest to him hinting at a sporadic reclusive uncertainty that became more prevalent with time.

Conversely his career, which had bottomed out (no pun intended) to some extent post-Bottom in the mid-1990’s received a shot of adrenalin over the next decade.

Further tours with sidekick Adrian Edmondson throughout the first half of the noughties and appearances on shows ranging from cult animation SpongeBob SquarePants to rock-opera musical Jesus Christ Superstar ensured that Mayall’s career was flourishing into his fifties.

Tragically behind the curtain his health was slowly deteriorating,  suffering with epilepsy as well as other permanent psychological afflictions following that fateful day in 1998. Indeed, Mayall revealed that the one occasion when he failed to take his medication resulted in a prolonged fit and further (brief) hospitalisation.

Rik Mayall

In contrast to the currently ambiguous nature of his death is the unflinching collective head bow that the world of comedy affords one of its most popular practitioners, a man never afraid to instinctively stray from the script and often bordering on genius.

Rik Mayall was part of a comedy revolution throughout Britain in the 1980’s and never took himself too seriously or suffered an inflated sense of ego.

It is for those reasons, amongst innumerable others, that his departure bequeaths a gaping chasm in the comedy landscape, a chasm that until less than 24 hours ago was embodied by wonderful absurdity and captivating charm.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Live Review: Rich Hall


In the final of our Ventnor Arts Festival reviews, Dom Kureen shares his opinion of American comedian Rich Hall’s sold out marquee stage performance.

 

Rich Hall 2Devotees lined up beyond eyeshot of the entrance, serving as merited recognition for one of America’s most enduringly popular comedic exports of recent years.

The dry, caustic wit of Rich Hall, a humorist synonymous with English panel shows such as ‘Q.I’ and ‘Eight Out of Ten Cats,’ was immediately evident amid an opening broadside at cheese manufacturers Kraft and their hostile takeover of Cadbury.

Transitioning neatly into politics, the real life Moe Szyslak referred to Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich as a couple of glove puppets, consequently shifting his attention to Nick Clegg and David Cameron (“The key cutter and the shoe maker at a struggling Cobblers!”)

Some tongue-in-cheek contrasts between British and American customs were followed by an uproarious skit relating to the trials and tribulations of the world’s greatest trampolinist, Alexandre Moskalenko, who, despite years of dedicated endeavour, still probably doesn’t get noticed in his own neighbourhood.

Encouraging audience participation, Hall chatted to ‘Andy,’ a rose grafter (no, me neither) whose story warranted an ad-libbed ditty, replete with catchy guitar riff.

That breakneck train of thought proved a pivotal weapon in the armoury, with some other members of the front row less forthcoming when spoken to, although a couple of the on-the-spot compositions admittedly fell a little flat.

Lookalike: Rich Hall referred to himself as a "real life Moe Szyslak" (centre)
Lookalike: Rich Hall referred to himself as a “real life Moe Szyslak” (centre)

The variety and authentic warmth of the comedian’s act should guarantee that no two shows are quite the same on this latest sojourn across the British Isles.

More valuably, Hall’s impish aura, which never broached guttural, indicated that there was enough edgy material in reserve to keep things diverse.

A highly amusing parody of a modern day Bob Dylan concert wrapped up his Isle of Wight leg of the tour agreeably, with bounteous guffaws emanating from all corners of the temporarily erected canopy.

 The £16 admission fee was a bargain for a terrific night of comedy.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.