Review: Sham Bodie, Kraak, Manchester
Sham Bodie returned this month to an inexplicably cool new venue with a fabulous line-up that included Foster’s Comedy Award nominees Gein’s Family Giftshop, character comedian Jayne Edwards and the incomparable Spencer Jones, who made his Sham Bodie debut.
Co-founder and host of Sham Bodie Ben Tonge kicked off with a solemn clap along to New Order’s Blue Monday, a homage to the recent, purported most depressing day of the year. Tonge is a very funny, very clever compere, effortlessly cementing the night’s wonderful atmosphere from the very start.
Jayne Edwards brought with her Brian The Bodybuilder, and his surreally hilarious tale of his encounter with Ross Kemp and his relationship with Jesus (featuring a Segway).
Gein’s Family Giftshop – reliably, inexhaustibly amazing sketch – also performed a collection of work in progress sketches that don’t seem to need all that much work. Ed Easton is a fantastically funny physical performer, a skill that left him catching his breath for a third of their set at Kraak.
Something that sets Sham Bodie apart from Manchester’s plethora of disproportionately-cheap-for-what-you-get comedy nights, is its inclusion of great music as well.
This month, Manchester-based rock two-piece Bad Grammar (comprising the terrifically talented Ben and Lucy) performed a brilliant set that included their newest single Clown, which they are releasing in the spring. This was their second time playing Sham Bodie, and it’s blindingly obvious to see why they brought them back.
Spencer Jones is a maniacally funny and incredibly inventive comic that excels with very silly prop comedy – with a box full of groan tubes, a collection of extra eyes and a fantastically funny routine transforming the sounds of a typical building sight into a rave. Sham Bodie has an aptitude for delivering brilliant, bizarre and completely unique line-ups – simply look to this bill for proof if proof were needed.
Sham Bodie is undoubtedly Manchester’s most painfully cool monthly comedy club (to such an extent that I end up secreting myself in corner to pull nervously at my t-shirt and desperately wish I’d brought a cool friend to fill the vacant seat next to me).
Of course, that isn’t to say it’s not hugely friendly, and massively enjoyable. Sham Bodie’s next show at Kraak is the 12 February, featuring Chris Tavener, Jana Kennedy, Allyson June Smith and Mr Susie; most definitely check it out.