RETURNING TO PORT
With its eclectic mixture of stand-up, theatre and music, this year’s Comedy Port has all the makings of another inventive celebration of comedy talent. Bill Knowles picks out some of the highlights.
Q: What do you call a submarine full of Welsh comedians? A: LAUNCHPAD! Geddit? No? Ah… well… I suppose it’s how you tell them. Let me explain. Mon 8 Oct sees fledgling Welsh comedy festival Comedy Port open at Newport’s Riverfront Theatre for its third consecutive year. There’ll be magicians, movies, theatre, musical comedy and loads of live stand-up across a five-day run from Mon 8-Sat 13 Oct. Following on from huge successes in 2010 and 2011, Comedy Port is lining up to bring us yet more mirth from the brightest rising stars of Cymru’s comedy scene, as well as free fringe acts and some big names fresh from their stints at Edinburgh.
The festivities open in intriguing style with Launchpad, Comedy Port’s official launch party on Mon 8. It’s free, fun, and run by the fantastic Tin Shed Theatre Co. who opened last year’s proceedings to huge acclaim. Back then they built a rocket ship in which to host the stand-up, and this year they’ve gone even more out there with the venue. The folks at Tin Shed have put together a custom-built submarine at U.R.B.A.N in John Frost Square, so you can laugh like you’re hundreds of miles underwater… or something like that. Whatever the reason, you can be sure to have a blast in this eclectic opening night of comedy, which boasts interactive game-play, live performances and cutting edge Welsh comedy. The submarine will also host a total of seven shows (one a night) throughout the week, so if you like it, you can just keep coming back. Periscopes, apparently, are provided.
On Tues 9 the first of the really big names takes to the Comedy Port stage. Tim Key brings his Masterslut show to the Riverfront Studio Theatre following a sell-out run at London’s Soho Theatre and Edinburgh Fringe. Audiences can expect pithy prose, comic verse, and a warm bath on centre stage as the Edinburgh Comedy Award-winner once again weaves his web of spoken lyrical stand-up in his own unique and rather understated way.
Wed 10 sees festival headliner Al Murray light up the riverfront with his insatiable Pub Landlord bursts into town with The Only Way Is Epic. If you can get your hands on one of the few tickets left, you can look forward to a brand new show full of his characteristic British buffoonery.
On Fri 12, Lloyd Langford fills in the gaps with his own brand of Welsh comedy, and in One Day In The Life Of Lloyd Owen Langford, the Baglan-born funnyman muses over his movements during a particular 24-hour period of his life. With his own wry, if slightly world-weary style, Lloyd styles this show as a “sort of picaresque shaggy dog story,” and one that, apparently, will contain jokes about bread and circumcision.
There’s plenty more to be enjoyed during the five-day festival; Dan Mitchell in Beak, the tale of the world’s first seagull comedian; Paul Dabek in Nothing Up My Sleeve which sees a mad mix of sleight-of-hand magic, illusion and quickfire comedy; and straight outta’ Merthyr, Dangerous Ryan in The Dangerous Ryan Show.
Bridget Christie completes the lineup of notable comedy headliners on Sat 13 with her suitably bizarre new show War Donkey. Bridget’s baffling comedic inspiration has a distinct touch of the surreal, although she still also manages to answer some of life’s most important questions such as what are Tory feminists? How did Hitler choose soups in restaurants? And why isn’t there a Spielberg blockbuster about donkeys?
On the same day, The Riverfront hosts a comedy club for kids and a comedy family fun day with loads of activities and comedians providing welcome distraction and entertainment. The Comedy Port Closing Party in John Frost Square also provides the perfect conclusion from 9pm. Expect live music, interactive games and a raucously ridiculous party with the Tin Shed crew and a maritime fancy dress theme.
Full listings and tickets are available online, and for those who want to engage in all the latest news and events, check out @PortComedyFest and @Launchpad_2012 on Twitter.
Comedy Port, Mon 8-Sat 13 Oct, Riverfront Theatre, Newport. Tickets: prices vary. Info: 01633 656757 www.newport.gov.uk/comedyport
We’ve been lucky enough to get our hands on a pair of tickets for Bridget Christie’s show on Sat 13 Oct, and also two Launchpad passes (all seven shows). Simply answer the following question by Fri 5 Oct Q: How many years has Comedy Port been running?