Lucy Porter - The Greystones, Sheffield
Possibly best known for her appearances on Radio 4 and panel shows like Mock The Week and Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Lucy Porter is a comedian who could easily fall under the radar. But one who definitely shouldn’t.
Her show, Northern Soul explores how where you come from defines you, and the struggle to find an interesting identity when you come from an extremely ordinary background.
Lucy’s childhood heroes were northern figures like David Hockney and Morrissey, who helped her form the idea she should go to university in the north.
And so, armed with Smiths records, a well thumbed copy of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists and the desire to make northern friends Lucy enrolled at a Manchester university - only to discover that most of her classmates were fellow southerners who shared her northern aspirations.
Lucy’s cheerful and engaging narrative about the woes of being from Croydon and being given medical supplies for her birthday is engaging and seamless. And puts you in mind of comedians like Dylan Moran, who have got the whole effortlessly funny thing down to a fine art.
Despite her chirpy demeanour, Lucy is very cutting and packs some pretty dark comedic punches - including an anecdote about an infamous Radio One DJ.
The true test of an experienced comedian is their ability to deal with hecklers, and despite several outbursts from a man in the front row Lucy continued unruffled and even incorporated his bizarre comments into her show.
I really enjoyed Lucy’s show and highly recommend seeing her show - especially to anyone with northern aspirations.
* Sarah Marshall
TWELFTH NIGHT - CAST, DONCASTER
Though the idea of a musical interpretation of Twelfth Night admittedly conjures up visions of all sorts of Lloyd Webberesque hideousness, but don’t worry – this a completely different rebranding of the bard.
Though the Filter theatre group skip a fair bit of the story they add a lot more elements – and mainly surprising, incongruous ones at that.
They skip through a variety of theatrical styles – mime, tumbling, clowning and even a smidge of straight acting, but it’s the madcap mayhem of the performance that stands out a mile – this is Shakespeare by way of the Marx Brothers with surprising visual elements galore – how often are you going to see people catching balls on their heads whilst dancing to a Shakespeare sonnet, with musical accompaniment which owes more than a debt to Leonard Cohen?
The music may be the best thing about the night – it varies from Tom Waitsian battered jazz through folk song and lunatic polka, with more than a bit of theremin bothering and vocal effects chucked in for good measure.
The performances are great throughout with particular praise going to Sandy Foster, as Maria/Feste, Lizzy Watts’ Olivia Polly Frame as Viola and Sebastian, Geoffrey Lumb’s Toby Belch and Fergus O’Donnell as a madcap Malvolio. Overall the play’s a delight – funny, oddly moving and with more than enough going on to enthrall even those with ADD, m though if you go in not knowing the story of Shakespeare’s cross-dressing comedy, you’re unlikely to come out much the wiser. Reviewing this is missing the point really – it’s a performance to be experienced, not analysed. Po mo without being po-faced and certainly the most fun you’ll have in a Doncaster theatre this year. As someone once said “This is very midsummer madness”.
* Martin Herron