Ludlow Fringe Festival 2019
A fabulous twosome bringing top-class comedy to a mid-week session at our own dear Brewery.
To have one top-class comedian may be regarded as great fortune in our small town but to have two must be regarded as great good fortune. Especially when the headliner steps in at the last minute and, far from disappointing the eager crowd, performs a wonderful eyebrow-raising set pushing all the boundaries still left to push.
The evening began with the crowd revved up by our Brummie compere who (even with his infrequent visits to our Fringe) managed to nail the eccentricities of the inhabitants of the outlying towns. No need to add detail here but we seemed to gain a tame heckler who became ripe for parody all the way through the evening.
Paul F Taylor appears in a strange retro outfit donning a comedy moustache to bring in the first of his mesmerising meanders through a stream of consciousness comedy that was enthralling and eccentric from the off. Especially when he removes said tied-on moustache to reveal the real thing and rails against moustache-growing for charity. “What’s that? Not shaving? How hard is that?”. Waving a microphone stand at another audience member to replicate a giant crow (perhaps you had to be there to get the full mirth of that) we were guided through some real belly laughs, citing predictive texting, the naming of not only meat (Pig becomes pork but chicken becomes … chicken …) but audience members called Paul and Clare who were warned to watch out as their names are not useful in other circumstances – Clay pigeon shooting and A&E bedsides. Perfect midweek mirth with his outfit finally explained as a way to fend off hungry bears. “Oh, don’t bother, he’s out of date”.
As he galloped along at a cracking pace we became immersed in some wonderfully surreal lines of thought which in turn reminded me of both Eddie Izzard and Harry Hill. A deeply engaging performer, his repartee was enhanced with wonderful lingering sideways looks and with his mop of curls I was also reminded of early Charles Chaplin. All excellent springboard references for his own brand of humour, Paul is definitely one to watch.
With the unexpected withdrawal of the headliner, Andrew Lawrence stepped in at the last minute and did not for a second disappoint. In fact his rather lower-key (but not lower-standard) presentation was the perfect complement to what we had just seen. Andrew’s main subject for his comedy is family life, especially life with his three year-old daughter. These exquisite anecdotes struck a very large chord with the similarly-aged males in the audience who must have felt that they, at last, were allowed to share their own bewilderment of life as a father when really life itself without kids is confusing enough. “Once you’ve had a kid, the full horrific consequences of sex kick in”.
Many provocative jokes were almost tested out on this small town audience whose gasps and chuckles only served to him know that deep-down we all harbour strange prejudices and if we all acknowledge them, and laugh with them, we almost banish them. Lenny Bruce managed it so why shouldn’t Andrew? Blisteringly funny show, a really top night out.