If you want the best comedy, you go to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, an annual feast of giggle fodder.
Credit to Harrogate Comedy Festival (October 7 to 22) then for hosting more of this year’s Edinburgh Fringe hot tickets than any other place in Yorkshire, with no less than three out of five of the big prize nominees, the festival’s panel prize winner and a Fringe First award-nabber set to split sides at this year’s fortnight of funny.
Natural clowns Ben Clark, Matthew Crosby and Tom Parry are Pappy’s, the supermen of sketch comedy, appearing at Harrogate Studio Theatre on Wednesday 10 October. Last Show Ever!, the title and concept of this year’s Fosters Comedy Award-nominated show, allows Clark, Crosby and Parry to pretend they’re pensioners, looking back at what went wrong with Pappy’s in a series of joyous and hysterical flashbacks. This is knockabout silliness you’d be daft to miss.
A legend in political comedy, Mark Thomas’s impassioned rants about subjects that matter managed to be informative, inspiring and, crucially for a stand-up, funny all at once. An active campaigner offstage, Thomas brought the nefarious doings of various big corporations to public attention. His latest show, Bravo Figaro! atHarrogate Theatre on Thursday 11 October is a different beast, dealing with Thomas’s relationship with his difficult father and said father’s love of opera. Moving from the political to the personal has reaped awards for Thomas. Literally – Bravo Figaro! scooped a Fringe First Award during its Edinburgh run.
Mr Tony Law is ridiculously talented at the ridiculous. His subversive comedy has been tickling those in the know for years, and was this year nominated for the big Fringe prize. Law cheerily peddles the kind of leftfield humour that splits a room. To deconstruct comedy, you have to be able to get it right first; to deconstruct stand-up and put it back together with palpable oddness takes a screwball genius. Ladies and gentleman, Law’s show at Harrogate Studio Theatre on Thursday October 11 is called Maximum Nonsense and promises absurdist brilliance.
Kiwi import Sam Wills, aka The Boy With Tape On His Face, is also appearing. His cute, mute, gaffer-taped creation has bagged myriad sell-out runs, nominations, high-profile TV appearances and awards, including this year’s Edinburgh Fringe panel prize, awarded to the act seen to most exemplify the spirit of the Fringe. Just a few years ago, the man behind The Boy was a street artist, now his soundless stand-up creation, combining slapstick, audience participation, stand up, and music, is a deserved star. His new show is called More Tape and is at Harrogate Theatre on Sunday 14 October.
Over the past few years Josie Long has morphed from mistress of whimsy to political comedian (with whimsical moments). Spurred on by her hatred of the Coalition, Long’s comedy has become a call to arms. Finding her purpose doesn’t mean Long has lost her funny – far from it. Having something important to say has only made her more of a must-see. Her Fosters Award nomination for Romance And Adventure, which comes to Harrogate Theatre on Wednesday 17 October marks her third time on the shortlist.
Get social with the Harrogate Comedy Festival. Keep up-to-date with exclusive content, offers, competitions and more through Facebook –www.facebook.com/harrogatetheatre- and by following us on Twitter – @HGtheatre – using the hashtag #HCF12. Check out the entire programme at http://issuu.com/harrogatetheatre1900/docs/hcf12_brochure_finalnobleed.
Tickets for Harrogate Comedy Festival are available now and can be booked securely online at www.harrogatetheatre.co.uk or through the Harrogate Box Office on 01423 502 116.