Reviewer: Liza Kyle
The Harrogate Comedy Festival is back for its fourth year with 50 top-notch comedians lining up to play a handful of venues in just two weeks. One of the final acts with the pleasure of closing this year’s festival is Comedy Club 4 Kids.
Comedy Club 4 Kids have been running a “proper comedy club for anyone over the age of 6, featuring the best comedians on the circuit doing what they do best… but without the rude bits”. The Soho Theatre hosts the club’s regular venue, but as well as appearing in various locations across the country it returns every year to its roots at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where it began back in 2006.
The line-up varies from show to show, and the three acts appearing at Harrogate don’t disappoint. Each of them, who are much more used to appearing in front of inebriated adults after 10pm rather than orangeade fuelled children in the middle of the afternoon adapt to their clientele seamlessly without a grown up rude word to be heard.
Resident MC, Tiernan Douieb kicks of proceedings and has the audience warming to him immediately. He has a real ‘favourite uncle’ manner about him which puts kids at ease and lets them know that it’s OK to laugh noisily at rude words and in fact positively urges them to shout out a few of their own. Douieb appears between each act and is able to pick up where he left off, even remembering the names of the kids he’s previously spoken to. No mean feat in a room full of small people all wearing similar hoodies (or woggles, in the case of the cub pack).
The second act of the show is Andrew O’Neill, an “occult comedian who has done a bit of telly, and lots of radio including BBC Radio 1, Radio 4 Extra and 5live”. O’Neill won his audience over immediately by wearing a belt full of bullets, doc martin boots and singing a song about faces matching another part of the body. You can use your imagination. In fact, there was quite a bit of singing involved during this act which brought the big people in on the action.
The final act is the highlight of the show with The Noise Next Door. Billed as the UK’s premier improv comedy troupe, these five performers rely on input from the audience to help shape the way in which their 20 minutes on stage will hilariously evolve. Bearing in mind the average age of the audience, there is a great deal of poo being flung around at this point. Thankfully, it’s not in the literal sense, only the verbal kind but it provides huge entertainment and mirth to all those witnessing the unfolding saga.
The whole show is overflowing with audience participation, with each of the acts actively encouraging loud heckling and comic inspiration from the young audience. This show is definitely worth an hour of any kid’s time, and any adult’s time come to think of it. After all, as Douieb points out, the truth is that there really isn’t such a thing as an adult. Just very large children.