Andrew Dipper

Jesterval 2015: 5 must-see free shows

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Back on the banks of the Tyne for another year, Jesterval Comedy Festival takes over Baltic Square for 10 days later this week. There’s over 40 shows in the pipeline from the likes of Chris Ramsey, The Boy With Tape On His Face and Ed Byrne – but here’s five shows you can see without, theoretically, spending a penny.

THE GREAT BIG QUIZ ABOUT STUFF, Friday 5 June, 6.30pm, FREE, 16+

Did you know that, musically, your lavvy flushes in E Minor? This and other useless facts are picked over by top talent from the region’s airwaves and stages as they answer questions about all kinds of stuff and nonsense.

Following on from last year’s Children In Need quiz, which saw radio presenters pitted against comedians, the affable and laughable Mr. Drayton hosts the rematch. The show is free, with donations towards BBC Children In Need gratefully received. Details.


Ideal for coffee nerds and novices alike, award-winning Geordie comedian Andy Fury introduces a stand up guest as well as sampling a variety of coffees which he will share with you, whilst learning all about them from a local expert. There’ll also be a chance to win some goodies to take home with you. Tea drinkers are also welcome as a last resort, but may be asked to sit at the back. Details.

ABI ROBERTS: DOWNTOWN ABI, Monday 8 June, 10.15pm, FREE, 16+

Abi Roberts and her big hair exploded onto the stand-up comedy scene in 2011, after a number of years as a musical and cabaret performer. She was a finalist and runner-up in the 2012 Harrogate Theatre’s Comedian of the Year, and took the Panel Prize and Audience Award at the same festival.

This year’s show involves tales of Welsh debauchery, the perils of singing karaoke in Moscow, and an unfortunate incident with Jeremy Clarkson in Harrods. Find out what happens when your parents want you to be an opera singer and you end up tap-dancing in a pig costume, promoting a butcher’s shop. Details.

JONNY PELHAM: BEFORE & AFTER, Tuesday 9 June, 6.30pm, FREE, 16+

Jonny Pelham has almost, but absolutely not, won a number of comedy competitions. Finalist and Judges’ Choice in the BBC New Comedy Awards, runner-up in So You Think You’re Funny, runner-up in the Laughing Horse New Act Of The Year, he’s pretty much lost them all. Go and see him at Jesterval before he brings his hotly anticapted debut show to the Edinburgh Fringe. Details.

MATT REED: STALKED, Wednesday 10 June, 7.45pm, FREE, 16+

Matt Reed is a comic, and, like many comics, was very lonely – until five years ago he met the girl of his dreams, fell in love, and as a result had four years of utter hell. “Love hurts,” he tells us, “but being catfished will tear your heart out.”

Stalked is a story all about how his life got flipped turned upside down, and he’d like to take minute (about an hour) – just sit right there (at Jesterval) – and he’ll tell you about the time he got stalked so badly it made him ill. If this doesn’t tempt you, there’s loads of jokes in it and slides (the pictures on the screen type, not the children’s gravity-operated toy).  Details.

Jesterval Comedy Festival, Baltic Square, Gateshead Quays, 5-14 June 2015,