Brewery Theatre was packed to capacity to witness the first ever
Comedy Store Players gig in South Cumbria.
five Players in Kendal were:
- The shaggy-haired Richard Vranch who kept things together
and demonstrated his uinque piano-playing ability.
- Andy Smart
- Lee Simpson
- Steve Steen
- Jim Sweeney
Line Is it Anyway? is a pale TV imitation."
you been to an improvisation night before?" Richard asked,
warming us up by asking us for suggestions. Slow at first, the ideas
started to come thick and fast.
and the waste disposal unit
our suggestions, the show got underway with a story about Caesar
and a waste disposal unit. Each Player continued the story when
pointed to by Richard and was 'out' if he gibbered.
followed a scene at Blackpool Sealife Centre with the audience shouting
out emotions for the Players to display.
Richard left the auditorium while we decided on an obscure job.
He then returned, having to guess he was "the person who ties
bunches of spring onions together with string for £2.75 in
Aldi". He'd never heard of Aldi and several folk in the audience
pointed out that it's not string it's blue elastic bands.
their bizarre clues ("I'm not on, Ian's on"), he got it,
with us cheering him on with every clue.
Mr Vranch as the guy hidden behind the piano or guitar on 'Whose
Line Is It Anyway?' but clearly he has many more strings to his
bow. (Interestingly - to me at least - he holds a PhD in radiation
physics. Don't ask how I know.)
asked for a suggestion for a TV show, my
pal Lindsay's "gritty Northern drama" was picked instantly.
and Jim as 'Mary' and 'Deirdre'
was decided as the story unfolded. We followed 'Mary' (Andy Smart),
who wants to go to Japan to train as a geisha. But! She's pregnant
by her best friend's husband.
Sweeney's impression of a Northern lass was worryingly convincing.
"And so I said, 'Never', and she said..." etc.
Sheen became 'Noriko' - a prostitute who sounded remarkably like
a gruff Northern builder. Richard stepped up the music to lead him
into a song.
what do I get for a fiver?" asked 'John', Mary's husband. Cue
Steve leaping about the stage doing a geisha version of 'The Old
Bazarr in Cairo', all composed on the spot inside his brain. (I
couldn't possibly repeat the words.)
sketch started with two Players making mint cake in Kendal. We shouted
out film and theatre styles to change how the scene progressed.
My "teen movie" lowered the tone too quickly and was quickly
replaced with "ballet", "horror" and "opera".
show ended with "a touch of culture".
Shakespearean plays were suggested - "Much Ado About Something"
and "Cuban" (which went totally over everyone's heads).
But it had to be "A Midsummer Night's Wet Dream". The
name alone had the audience in stitches.
certainly try to get to another gig by the Comedy Store Players.
Their brand of comedy is hard to come by and I came away feeling
I had been part of a unique evening. Come back soon please!
to anyone going along to a comedy gig: don't drink so much that
you have to go out to the loo. And certainly don't even think of
getting up if you're seated on the front row!
by Suzanne Worthington, BBC Cumbria.
Want to be a BBC Cumbria reviewer? Email
competition is now closed.
Thomason from Lancaster won a pair of tickets to the gig in Kendal.
you can still test your knowledge with the quiz:
competitions from BBC Cumbria »