The Wilde Theatre at Bracknell is a winner for me as a gig – although it’s 10 miles away, the drive is easy and the parking is free – contrasted to the Reading Hexagon which is a bit closer (at 4 miles) but the expensive car park next door takes forever to get into and out of after the show, what with the queue for the ticket machine and then the queue for the gate. It probably takes longer to get home from a gig at the Hexagon than driving all the way from Bracknell. The Wilde Theatre has a nice art gallery to stroll round in the break too. The Hexagon does have pictures hanging around the bar area but it doesn’t really have the same feel (too dark and noisy with people in the way).
Tonight was supposed to be Milton Jones headlining (supported by Andrew Lawrence and Mitch Benn with Geoff Whiting as MC) but for some reason he had to cancel and was replaced by Lee Hurst. Not what Sue and I had hoped for but too late too change our minds about attending.
First up was Mitch Benn, a firm favourite of ours. He played a comedy songs, starting with “I Might Just Have To Murder James Blunt” and then a quartet from his current album, “Where Next” – “African Baby”, “Auto-Erotic Asphyxiation”, “Not Bitter” and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”. Definitely too short a set but that’s always an issue with multi-act comedy nights. If you haven’t seen a particular comedian before then the jokes/songs are a good taster but if you have then you’re left wanting more.
I liked his description of the theatre as a cross between an Elizabethan Globe theatre and an extreme cage fighting arena.
Sadly we had forgotten to wear our PotBBC T-shirts – slipped our minds. I did have a short chat with him about sales in the interval and he went over my head talking about flat-rate VAT returns; apparently he has shifted £14,000 worth of these T-shirts and continues to receive orders. There was an initial spike of purchases from his fan base and then another at Christmas but now demand is coming from people, here and abroad, that have seen the video and want to get involved.
Andrew Lawrence was next up with some very good self-deprecating humour. I think I’ve seen him before but can’t recall when. Might have been on the TV – several of his appearances are viewable on his website.
Milton’s replacement, Lee Hurst was on after the 2nd interval. The last time I saw Lee was at a Microsoft event in 1999 for the FY00 company meeting (or “FYou” as Lee put it). Tonight we were entertained with anecdotes about his many and varied medical illnesses. I am impressed that he still manages to keep going but he doesn’t seem to be someone that gives in too easily.
Isn’t it always the case that after a gig you can’t recall any of the jokes? This is probably a good thing, too, as, if I retyped them here, who knows what might happen?