If you’ve heard the radio show, you’ll know that Mark travels around the country, does a little local research then tells jokes and chats about the area with local people. If you haven’t, then that probably sounds a lot less entertaining than the reality. What makes it work is that Mark is clearly, genuinely fascinated with the various localities of Britain. He’s also a very likeable, old-fashioned Socialist and can be very funny. I saw his show in Hayes which is a somewhat amorphous, anonymous area and, like most of the audience, I came from nearby rather than Hayes itself. Luckily, of the 150 minutes he was on stage, he spent less than 30 actually talking about Hayes itself and most of the rest talking about more interesting places he’s visited. Lots of chuckles and a few louder laughs: well worth checking if he’s near you. A look at his website will give you a better flavour of his humour and let you know where he’s visiting next.
An extra category this year as there have been so many funny afternoons and evenings. Eddie Izzard was very funny at the O2 (now available on DVD) and One Man, Two Guvnors was as funny as everyone says. Other comedies didn’t quite hit the mark, such as The Ladykillers. The Room Next Door was a good play with some very funny moments but the one performance that had me crying with laughter throughout was The Play That Goes Wrong from Mischief Theatre. They tried again with Peter Pan Goes Wrong which is probably just as funny for audiences who didn’t see the original but not quite as funny for those of us who did. I look forward to seeing where they go next – I hope it’s somewhere different.