mon 10/08/2020

Car Park Comedy, Henley review - Comedy Store's mixed bill | reviews, news & interviews

Car Park Comedy, Henley review - Comedy Store's mixed bill

Car Park Comedy, Henley review - Comedy Store's mixed bill

Elegant surroundings for latest drive-in show

Dane Baptiste joked about class differences between his native south London and Henley

Hot on the heels of The Car Park Club and @TheDriveIn comes Car Park Party, a series of shows presented in partnership with The Comedy Store. Car Park Party presents an evening of four comics doing short sets, presented by an MC.

The performance I saw in the beautiful surroundings of Henley Royal Regatta, where the cancelled Henley Festival would normally be held, was hosted by Stephen Grant, who jollied things along nicely and created as much audience participation as is possible at a drive-in – much helped here by the good weather, picnicking guests and the large proportion of the audience in convertibles.

He made much of the affluent surroundings and there was a lot of car-based humour – what car you drive and what it says about you. He joked about the unusualness of the gig: “It's the Henley equivalent of a rave.”

Hal Cruttenden was first up and talked about having had Covid, how he is outnumbered in his house by his wife and daughters, and about middle-class privilege – a subject that a Henley audience might know a bit about. And so it proved when he asked them to show, by way of tooting car horns, how many of them had been to public school. It got a little noisy.

Cruttenden had been a bit bolshy as a teenager and told his parents that private schooling was wrong. “Then I watched Grange Hill and thought, 'Maybe just one more year...'” There were a few sly political gags peppered throughout his enjoyable set.

Next up was Suzi Ruffell, an energetic presence on any bill, and so it proved here. She had a nicely judged set talking about, among other things, her Portsmouth family, including her geezer dad and her mum, who is never afraid to go double animal print.

Ruffell was due to get married this summer and by rights should have been sunning herself on honeymoon instead of performing here. She talked about how during lockdown her love of trash TV has been given free rein, and her favourite is Naked Attraction.

For the uninitiated, Naked Attraction on Channel 4 is a dating show where participants see their potential partner's genitals before they see their face or exchange so much as a “how do?” It's dreadful and, as Ruffell pointed out, it's the kind of idea that you would have to be on crack to think was a good one.

Dane Baptiste joked that Henley was a new experience for him: “I definitely feel like a Coco Pop in a bowl of Rice Krispies,” he opened, and proceeded to talk about other differences, class for instance, and how language reflects that. In south London, where he comes from, he might talk about secondhand clothing. In Henley it would be vintage and twice the price.

He riffed on how he loves McDonald's but is considering becoming a vegetarian, why he loves women who smoke, and why he wants a lesbian as a best friend. His set was a pleasing combination of gentle observational humour and subtle political points.

Rounding off the evening was musical comic Christian Reilly, who ran through a medley of spoof songs in the style of various singers and bands, including Bruce Springsteen, northern reggae and the Arctic Monkeys, and ended with a lengthy Ed Sheeran takedown, “Feisty Irish Girl”.

Cruttenden talked about middle-class privilege - a subject that a Henley audience might know a bit about


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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