Edinburgh Previews: Moseley Comedy Festival

Sunday, 26th April 2015

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Sheraz Yousaf
Sheraz Yousaf

Having lived in Edinburgh for two years and grown up on a solid diet of Father Ted, Shooting Stars, and The Fast Show, I am somewhat of a comedy enthusiast. I’ve always been pleased that Moseley has the Cheeky Monkey night. A free comedy evening that was monthly and is now every fortnight. We also have the Glee Club a bus ride away.

In Edinburgh, outside of work, the month of August meant sun, long evenings, and copious friends visiting. I’m not sure why they all came in August…of yeah, the Fringe and lots of comedy.

Aware of how great the Fringe can be, I was thrilled to see Martin Mullaney and Keith Marsden announce plans for Moseley’s first comedy festival; four evenings of Edinburgh previews, and all free.

I saw two of the four nights. I sat in a full house each time, and each night brought something different. Some work was very polished and some was rougher but to my eyes it was all wonderful to see. Similar to seeing a prototype, like walking in on a smiling James Dyson sticking a football on a hoover, it feels good to be in at the beginning.

For me, seeing live comedy outside of established favourites, (by the time this is published I will have once again seen my favourite, and comedy crush, Josie Long), is about rolling the dice. I try and convince friends of this regularly. It’s about supporting people doing something really brave. I’ve not done comedy but deciding to perform live is exciting, thrilling and you need to support it. So it’s exciting and experimental. You have the chance to witness something brand new and brilliant. They may fall but unless you sit there, then you never give people the chance to fly, and performers never know how good or funny something is until they leave their bedroom mirror and stand in front of people. If brave souls didn’t try we’d only have Roy Chubby Brown to listen to.

On Sunday we learnt that if you’re going to forget a line then run with it. Gary Colman did! Buoyed, hopefully, by his ability to keep us entertained despite forgetting the script, he will no doubt tighten his show in the coming weeks.

Iszi Lawrence, delivered an extended live version of her popular Z List Dead List podcast. As she sat with us after the show she was obviously feeling a bit frustrated. You can’t get it all right first time. She was honest and open as she wants to build her podcast into a great live show. It has the promise of going down well at Edinburgh and I wish her well.

On Tuesday night, Diane Spencer was the opening act. Her show explored a twin-tracked story of building a new home with her chap and at the same time writing, choreographing and directing a show for Nancy Dell’Olio. Edinburgh performers with the freedom of a whole show can aim for more narrative than a normal set, or they can share some important or big ideas. I felt it had the potential to be a really good show but it needed tightening and fine-tuning. As I say, that’s the point. As for the night’s headliner, Sheraz Yousaf, he had a solid hour of gags and appeared confident in his set and himself. He kept the room, and of all the performers I saw is probably the most ready to go.

Martin Mullaney said, “Can I thank everyone who came to the first ever Moseley Comedy Festival. It was an amazing success with every night full. We hope to repeat this next year and make it even bigger.”

It will be interesting to see in the future if we have the potential to use more venues, have shows in the daytime and add more dates. As a self-confessed comedy fan I’d like thank and congratulate the performers and the organisers for a great little festival. I look forward to the 2016 Moseley Comedy Festival.