Peter Thompson

Five shows to catch @ Laughter Lines Comedy Festival 2012…

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Leeds Comedy Festival | Giggle Beats

Leeds Comedy Festival

The city of Leeds will open its doors to a host of top draw comedy acts and the cream of local talent as Laughter Lines Comedy Festival returns for a second year on 28th April. The line-up is great, so we’ve relentlessly scoured the programme and picked out five shows that are more than worth an hour of your time. Enjoy.

5. Frisky and Mannish

Think you hate musical comedy acts? I did. So often my enjoyment of comedy nights is interrupted by ‘zany’ chumps who think that being barely competent on a musical instrument is the perfect foil for sparse material pockmarked with hack jokes where the saving grace is that the terrible punchlines rhyme. However, put simply, Frisky and Mannish are game changers and this is a show with mass appeal.

As you may have guessed, I have a few personal issues with musical comedy as a genre, but Frisky and Mannish put the competition to shame. Virtuoso musicians with great comic timing and excellent mimicry skills, Frisky and Mannish serve up an hour of high energy pop brilliance. Expect chart mash-ups, cabaret extravaganzas and heap of laughs in the gorgeous city centre Carriageworks venue. Grab a ticket and prepare yourselves for some fun with the duo who were branded ‘the most purely entertaining hour to be spent at the Fringe’ by The Independent.

4.  Paul Foot

The Carriageworks is also the venue for our next highlight of Laughter Lines, in the shape of Mr Paul Foot. The undisputed king of the absurd returns to Laughter Lines for a second year with his 2011 Edinburgh Fringe effort Still Life.

For those unaware of the considerable talents of Mr Foot, he’s a comedian who eschews the traditional conventions of comedy, replacing them with gloriously leftfield rants, rakish visits to obtuse comic realms and seriously silly segues. Fans of Russell Brand would do well to investigate Foot as his influence on the florid megastar is plain for all to see.

A cult phenomenon, Foot has wowed critics and audiences around the world with his oddball approach to entertaining audiences with nothing but a microphone and a terrible haircut. This show is a must for anyone in Yorkshire who likes their comedy with a healthy pinch of surreal.

 3. Sheeps

Sheeps have quickly gathered an excellent reputation off the back of last year’s Fringe effort ‘A Sketch Show’, which they are bringing to West Yorkshire for your viewing pleasure. The trio of Footlights alumni (whose current crop are also performing at the festival) include 2010’s Amused Moose Laugh Off runner up and Leeds native, Liam Williams, and have developed an excellent blend of intelligent, self deprecating silliness that sets them apart from their more loud and in your face sketch contemporaries.

Slickly performed, beautifully nuanced at times and extremely funny, this is the exciting future of sketch comedy.

Here’s a little taster of what the Sheeps lads have to offer:

2. Isy Suttie

Isy Suttie is absurdly talented, with fingers in so many artsy pies it’s quite ridiculous. Perhaps most famous for playing Mark’s geeky love interest in Peep Show, her talents are as far reaching as winning the Daily Telegraph Young Jazz competition 1995 and writing as a comedy consultant for teen über drama Skins. In-between all this and much more she’s still found time to charm the British public and comedy press with her thoughtful and warming shows that have seen her collect a host of major award nominations and the odd title. Put frankly, anyone with glowing reviews from the major broadsheets and the Daily Mail(!) must be doing something right.

Here she will be showing off her recent Fringe effort – Pearl and Dave. This one woman show tells the story of Suttie’s involvement as her neighbour Dave belatedly finds love with Pearl, a woman he met at Butlins many years ago. The hour is spliced with tales of Suttie’s own ill-fated romantic encounters that keep the laughs high. Expect songs, laughs, fantastically observed characters and a heart-warming tale.

1. Peacock and Gamble

Ed Gamble and Ray Peacock have spent the last few years building a large following through their own individually excellent stand up and their hugely popular Peacock and Gamble Podcast. However, they are arguably at their silly best when performing live as they breathe life into the classic comedy double act, something that Giggle Beats enjoyed heartily up at the Fringe last August.

Gloriously juvenile, the pair have a natural chemistry that is a joy to watch as Gamble plays the moderately more sensible voice of reason to Peacock’s full blooded bouts of erroneous enthusiasm. Situated in the murky bowels of Leeds University Union, this promises to be a treat. There genuinely isn’t a more infectiously likeable pair on the live circuit than these two.

Anyone with some time to kill at work would do well to dip into their Fringe video diaries – that can be found here – before snaffling a ticket to this splendid highlight of the Leeds Comedy Festival.

A deleted scene from Peacock & Gamble’s set on Russell Howard’s Good News:

For more details on Laughter Lines Comedy Festival and full ticketing information, visit: