Manchester Comedy Festival 2011 Brings Plenty to Admire
This year’s Manchester Comedy Festival has already opened its gates wide, celebrating the weird and satirical to the brutally honest and downright slapstick.
There is still plenty to look forward to within the next few weeks – as per usual, the Manchester comedy Festival has kept its eclectic taste. You can expect to see some famous faces such as Peter Kay and Mock the Week’s Andy Parsons, as well as setting centre stage for more up and coming acts.
One such act that has got audiences raving is Lady Garden. A five-piece female ensemble, these women have been twisting the definition of onstage humour. Their often dark and slightly surreal comedy sketches leave audiences weak from laughing and still not quite sure what just happened. We interviewed Lady Garden to find out more about them…
So- the name Lady Garden: Where did this come from?
When we first started we had a huge list of potential names (including granny left the iron on or gltmo- which sounds like a union and probably wouldn't have caught on). Finally choosing Lady Garden, we like that some people don't know it's double meaning - they just think it sounds pretty and ask what our favourite flowers are.
How do you feel your act has changed since it began?
We’ve become a lot more unhinged, dark and twisted. We still aim to enjoy ourselves and make each other laugh, and we hope that the fun we have on stage spreads like a vicious virus amongst the audience. Like something really horrible and contagious. Like worse than flu. But funny.
This year you’re taking part in the Manchester Comedy Festival –do you feel prepared?
We’ll be doing our Edinburgh show from this year so we should be. But you never know – things often go wrong as some of us (Beattie) are very disorganised. Not naming names, but some people (Beattie) often forget vital props or costumes and we have to make do with objects we find in and around the venue at the last minute, so we can never feel totally prepared.
You’ve done a lot of shows and festivals! Your favourite moments so far?
Finding 13 little girls to play mini versions of us for one of our shows. They were amazing and were a brilliant warm up act for us! Another memorable moment (not sure if it’s our favourite) was having an audience member sitting on the front row wearing a kilt - the traditional way.
Is there anything that you’ve regretted since you started making sketches together?
There are definitely some sketches that make us cringe when we look back on our material, but we don’t really regret doing them as it’s all a fantastic learning curve (cringe).
How are your relationships with each other?
We’re all BEST FRIENDS. We actually get on really well. We definitely wouldn’t be doing it if we didn’t – we have to spend a lot of time together in confined spaces.
Finally, what are you hoping for in the future of Lady Garden?
To persuade a billionaire to let us live in a Downton Abbey style mansion where we write sketches, lip sync to Cliff Richard songs, drink coke floats and work on becoming a Spice Girls tribute act. But in the meantime we’re continuing to do live gigs and develop work for television and radio and generally have a nice time doing it.
Elsewhere in the Comedy Jungle there are plenty more delights: the Comedy Store will be providing a full list of stand up performances throughout the festival, complete with the odd open spot! For more details, see: The Comedy Store.
Mentalist Quentin Reynolds will also be hosting two events for the Comedy Festival. Earlier in the evening he will be hosting the fun-filled Quentin Reynolds' Psychic Game Show, where his powers of perception are guaranteed to leave you astounded. Later on, he is hosting Bizarre, where Reynolds explores the paranormal and the weird - whilst sure to inform and unnerve, this show may not leave you as calm as when you went in. His shows will be performing almost every day until Friday 28th October, but be sure to check out the Comedy Festival's official site for all of the dates and tickets.
Dubbed as one of Scotland's 'hottest newcomers', Iain Sterling will be playing Pulse Manchester on Sunday 23rd October. You may recognise him best from children's television, but don't be fooled! This guy has a comedic talent that has won him 'Best Newcomer' at the Chortle Comedy Awards and heaps of praise from reviews. Tickets cost £5, doors open at 7.30pm, show starts at 7.45pm.
Elsewhere at Soup Kitchen, new arrival Dana Alexander will be performing her outspoken and refreshingly original material on Sunday 23rd and Monday 24th October. Dana is stated to be the only black comedienne in Canada, and is bringing over her sense of humour to the UK for the first time. Tickets are£10/£7 advance/£5 Conc. The gig will start at 7pm both nights.
Soup Kitchen will also be holding Twisted Tea Time on numerous nights, where they will be showing a host of their favourite up and coming comedy acts. This night promises not to break the bank and is perfect value for money. Twisted Tea Time will take place on 25th, 26th, 27th and 30th October.
Also new to the comedy scene, actress Hannah Chalmers is performing her first 50 minute, one woman show 'Stripped', which is based on real events she came across whilst working in a strip club. Having admitted that the script wasn't intentionally meant to be comedic at first, she has proven her talent in the comedy field. Her show performs on Monday 24th and Tuesday 25th October. Tickets are £10 and the show starts at 8.15pm.
Co-creator of The Office and Extras, Stephen Merchant will be entertaining as part of his 'Hello Ladies Tour' on 27th, 28th and 29th October and Manchester Apollo. This is his first ever stand up tour, and promised to provide some memorable moments. Tickets cost £25, shows start at 7pm.
With events rounding off on Halloween Weekend, you may want to try Flecky Bennet's 'The Night Before Halloween' Ghost Walk on Sunday 30th October. Tickets must be pre-booked and cost £13/£11 plus booking fee - tickets can be bought here. Participants will meet at the rear entrance to Manchester Town Hall at 5.45pm and walk starting at 6pm, and again at 7.45pm with the walk starting at 8pm.
Apotheca will also be holding a host of events, including The Halloween Comedy Show on 31st October at 8.30pm. Join Paul Savage, Chris Norton Walker, Aaron Twitchen, Masai Graham and Tom Roshe for a fantastic night of standup and ghoulish jokes. Tickets cost £5 or £3 if you turn up in halloween costume!
For a full list of events, go to: www.manchestercomedyfestival.co.uk