Broken Biscuits No.13.

At the risk of overloading you with information, it’s time to push this forthcoming show. The haphazard, leaky vessel that you have come to know and love as Broken Biscuits has been thrust into uncharted territory and somehow we will deliver. Brighton Fringe‘s The Warren is a pretty big deal for any performer in the UK, and we’ve been given a showcase night at The Main House (the biggest of their four stages) on Weds 31st May. Yes, it’s scary and yes, it’s cost eye-watering amounts to get us where we are, but we’ve got a great product and it’s time to put it out there. And with your help and support, we’ll do just that. If you’ve not yet been to one of the shows (or even if you have), now’s the time. Seriously.

For this one, the line-up is wonderful: the two Jennys (Vegas & Lockyer) are on board and, as you will already know from previous posts, absolutely superb. We’re also lucky beyond language to have Joanna Neary with us, one of the finest character comics of our time. The inimitable Kate Tym is back as compere with, no doubt, some accompanying kick-ass poetry. And father/son combo Joss Perring & Nick Hollywood will once again cast their audio/visual spell and transform the space, as they already have done with us twice at Komedia. Dan Laidler‘s Windy’s Farm will get its biggest ever screening too! All in all, it’s going to be quite spectacular.

I’ll not bang on: there’s still heaps to do and nine days left. But if we could just ask you to like and share, spread the word etc… we’d be more than grateful. There’s some radio promo coming on Juice FM this Friday (airs Sunday) with Brighton’s very own Boogaloo Stu, and you may see a zombified insomniac trawling the Laines with flyers and that as the day approaches. If you do, you know the drill x

Broken Biscuits No.12.

BB12, despite stealing every strand of my will to live from my trembling, broken body, was truly magnificent: anyone there will back me up on this. A three night extravaganza in one of the coolest spots in Hove as part of Brighton Fringe, with every act at the top of their game and the loveliest, most supportive audience we could possibly have wished for. I’m going to go all Gwyneth Paltrow on you in a minute so perhaps it’s best to give you a rundown before I do:

Joe Duggan kicked it all off, with his inimitable word-perfect prose that charmed and challenged the room in equal measures. You could have heard a pin drop as he spoke. Quite, quite extraordinary.

Julitha Ryan‘s gut-wrenching piano ballads were so moving, heartfelt and beautifully performed, the hairs are still standing upright on my arms as I type this. Watch the video below. Then watch it again. You’ll thank me.

Thanks to the eternal gift of his surname, Elvis Parsley was once again in the building. And he owned that crowd for the first time in forty years, yesiree. Don’t think I’ve seen a reincarnated star of yesteryear bring the roof down quite like that, well, ever. The King was on fire, and the rest of us were wet with laughter.

That Jenny Vegas has upped her game, I can tell you. With puppets re-enacting domestic abuse that still managed to be hilarious, and a torch song nicked and adapted from Andrew Lloyd Webber that was genuinely heartbreaking. Don’t let on though, she’s handful enough as it is.

Vivienne Westnorwood continued her upward trajectory to be the maddest punk rock grandmother on the planet. No one knew quite what to make of her (herself included), until she hollered, howled and screeched her way into everyone’s hearts via the medium of song and general weirdness. I’ll have what she’s having, please.

Headbackbob were sublime. All Weimar cabaret meets gypsy punk, headed up by Nadia Strahan whose stunning voice can knock small birds out of the trees at fifty paces. Everyone was on their feet and loving every second; the perfect way to round off an evening.

Daniel Laidler‘s Windy’s Farm had its best reception yet. I swear there were people on the verge of tears by the end, and quite vocal with it. Danny boy, we need some more, your public demands it!

A small mention for Idle Eye, I suppose. Although it appears he gave it some welly, no one’s entirely sure what he’s so livid about. All that shouting will only knock up his blood pressure, bless him. We’re thinking a whale music cassette and some tantric sex might do the trick; just saying.

Hope you enjoy the videos. Next up is Brighton Fringe‘s The Warren on 31st May, I’ll be coming atcha for this one ‘cos it’s massive. But first, I need a long waz and a sleep x

Broken Biscuits No.12.

Last minute heads up for this. If you’ve been on the social you’ll already know, but I’ve been pulled in more directions than an Irish road sign of late and to be perfectly frank, I forgot. However, we are where we are and these will be magnificent: three warm-ups at The Bee’s Mouth in Hove as part of Brighton Fringe 2017 before we hit The Warren on May 31st – more on which to follow.

For these shows, we’ve pulled in a combo of greatest hits, local heroes and blinding talent; because you’re worth it. It’s quite a spur having the luxury of time to try stuff out, alongside luminaries in their own fields who don’t, so we’ve decided to keep the whole flavour verging on the chaotic. Anything could (and probably will) happen, and the only vague certainty we can offer at present is the daily line-up:

Thurs 11th May – Joe Duggan/Julitha Ryan/Idle Eye/Jenny Vegas. With JV and IE as compere(s)

Fri 12th May – Vivienne Westnorwood/Julitha Ryan/Idle Eye/Jenny Vegas. With Elvis Parsley as compere

Sat 13th May – Elvis Parsley/Headbackbob/Idle Eye/Jenny Vegas. With Vivienne Westnorwood as compere

All shows will hopefully include Donald Ross Skinner’s Idle Eye Disco and Dan Laidler’s Windy’s Farm animations. But who knows? You might get your very own Hoseasons rep whisking you off to a self-catering Shangri-La in Kent. Or a mindless bloodbath of existential angst. That’s the beauty of a Pay What You Can gig – we call the shots, and you can’t say you weren’t warned. My advice would be to come along to all three with some personal idemnity in place. That way, we’re all covered x

Broken Biscuits No.11.

Right, I’m going to post this today and terminate the faffery once and for all. Because it’s tomorrow, see? These endless half-arsed drafts are getting on me tits, and I’ve got more important things to sort out; like the barnet. So then, it’s going to be another top drawer show at Sheffield’s stunning Yellow Arch Studios with a proper quality line-up:

Somehow, that Jenny Vegas has wormed her way up to the top of the bill and managed to get her mugshot into the newspapers. Seriously, there is no end of front to the woman (her manager Dougie spotted this as well, I gather).

Once again, the absolutely brilliant Jenny Lockyer will be with us, if she can brave the M1 on a day like today. Always a joy to watch, with trademark acoustic guitar, a pitch-perfect voice and the gentlest yet most off-kilter sense of humour evah!

Then there’s Billy Button: although perhaps his halcyon days are now a distant memory, he still can astonish an audience with that gold lamé jacket and a toupee to die for. This is one consummate showman who ain’t lying down in a hurry!

Our compere, Maynard Flip Flap, will have a thing or two up his sleeve. Quite literally, perhaps. A stalwart of Sheffield’s legendary Cabaret Boom Boom, Maynard is blessed with the gift of the gab, street theatre nous and will, without doubt, rudder our kooky ship safely to shore.

Dan Laidler‘s Windy’s Farm is back, obvs. Whoever would have thought that a black and white windmill could spread so much joy throughout the land? And that bloody Idle Eye mosquito will be pitching in with something, I’d imagine. Please desist with this oxygen of publicity thing, it only encourages him.

And that’s about it. It’s going to be fun, this one. I know I always say this, but TBH I can’t think of anything else right now & it’s sunny out. Next up will be Fringe Brighton in May, more on that another time. Adios amigos x

Broken Biscuits No.10.

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Yes, it’s hot on the heels of Komedia Brighton but you need to know pronto. This very Saturday, BB10 returns to Antenna Studios at Palace, because that’s where it was spawned. And for this show, it’s super local (with the allowable exception of Jenny Vegas, who’s only there for the free crisps) and super cool. We’ve got Vivienne Westnorwood for starters, and she doesn’t travel through postcodes unless there’s a very good reason. And then there’s Peyo Santalla, who so happens to have my flatmate in his band, and will dazzle the collective Palace crowd with some stuff he will have already badgered you into coming down for. I am merely the conduit, the weaver if you will, for some serious SE19 action. Do not judge us: we are on a higher plain.

If you’re in any doubt whatsoever, we’ve also got the magnificently bleak Tim Suturist as compere, after he’s finished flogging you quality veg at the market. It really doesn’t get any better than this (even though you think it might). And Idle Eye will try out some new material. Because it’s about time. I thank you x

Broken Biscuits No.9.

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Another great night. And despite my phone bricking as we were setting up (meaning no one could get hold of me at all for soundcheck info et al), it just added to the wonderful jumble of mayhem that seems to characterise these shows. Almost predictably, Southern Rail robbed us of Joanna Neary (although she has kindly agreed to join us at the Brighton Fringe, more on that another time), and compere Kate Tym was stricken with a virus and held at bay in St Leonards. But we got through it! Here’s how:

With the mighty Mr B, of course! The voice (and banjolele) of reason in a sea of madness, his immaculate set, attire and bonhomie were a joy to behold, as we all knew they would be. And he played The Crack Song, which I will be grateful for until my dying day. We Need To Talk About Kanye was another killer: seek it out and love him forever. This is a gentleman of substance you cannot afford to miss.

With Lorraine Bowen. Her Casiotone-fuelled, endearingly confused mix of pop, fashion and laughter had the house eating out of her hand the minute she stepped on stage. The Crumble Lady herself gave us tunes to die for, moves to watch and learn, and low fidelity acumen to shame the new kids on the block. Seriously, we had a party like it was 1969 and we didn’t want it to stop. Now that’s showbiz!

With Jenny Vegas. Once again, she delivered a blazing set with less than 24 hours notice, this time treating us to a reading from her new book 39 Shades of Brown. Which is as fabulous as it sounds. And she crushed the rumour that she and I are…well, you know…with the most damning words her vocabulary could muster. In front of a live audience. Don’t mess with this lady, she tells it like it is.

With Idle Eye and guests. This time he put a bloody jacket on and looked halfway respectable, let down somewhat by three pairs of reading glasses worn simultaneously. If he learns his lines and comes up with some decent between post banter, it might be worth coming to see his offerings at some point in the future. You heard it here first.

With Joss Perring and Nick Hollywood. Who once again transformed the Komedia Studio into a magical den of light, vintage film and great music. It’s always special to watch this father/son combo at work, particularly when they’re made up to the nines and sporting attractive hats. And Callum Hughes, who stepped in as compere with minutes to spare and masterfully ruddered our kooky ship through the entire evening. And Dan Laidler‘s Windy, who is fast becoming the unsung hero of Broken Biscuits. Hola Windy!

Thank you, Komedia Brighton, that was fab. BB10 is back at Antenna Studios in Crystal Palace on Saturday 11th February. Yes, that soon! Info post comin’ atcha after this. And sleep and red wine. Over and out x

Broken Biscuits No.9.

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Right. Christmas and New Year are behind us at last, so now we can get on with the mucky business of making 2017 everything 2016 wasn’t. And the best way I can think of is to put on a mighty BB9 at Komedia Brighton, ‘mighty’ being a woefully inadequate narrative for this one. I mean, look! It’s beyond huge, as three of Brighton’s comedy giants straddle the same stage for your delectation, immediately after Idle Eye splutters into first gear with a fistful of Kalms.

Lorraine Bowen, the undisputed queen of kitsch, crumble, cheesy keys and off-the-wall hilarity, will be giving it some. I know! Word has it that she owns the largest polyester wardrobe in the UK, so expect some 60s chic as well. It’s an embarrassment of riches, I tell you.

And then there’s Joanna Neary. An absolute must for anyone who cherishes character comedy colliding with the somewhat surreal, her sublime, very British quirkiness is, at times a cross between Joyce Grenfell and Celia Johnson, and at others Björk giving it all that about house prices in the South-East. She’s razor-sharp too; don’t be taken in.

Mr B, the consummate gentleman of Chap-Hop and the banjolele, has a superb new record out called ‘There’s a Rumpus Going On’. So we might be treated to a recital or two from that, or possibly something from current project ‘Absinthe House: Chapstep Vol.2’. And if he does The Crack Song as well, my year will be complete. In January.

But it just gets better: Nick Hollywood and Joss Perring, the dream father/son team who transformed Komedia last time we were there, are doing it all over again! With St Leonards’ finest Kate Tym as compere, and Dan Laidler‘s Windy’s Farm animations doing their thing, BB9 must surely now be considered a night not to be missed. Unless you miss it. In which case, it doesn’t really matter.