Little Wander are the company behind the successful Machynlleth Comedy Festival, its early-autumn sibling in Aberystwyth and the comedy stage at Green Man, plus promoting and managing one-off shows across Wales and beyond. It’s fair to say they’re at the forefront of developing comedy in Wales, and have been for more than a decade.
Their latest venture, the Best Of Wales Comedy Gala, featured six of the nation’s finest standups, hosted by the (very married but doesn’t look old enough) Robin Morgan. Leroy Brito kicked off to a packed-out Donald Gordon Theatre; a local docks boy but by his own admission now living in Penarth, Brito’s very funny routine highlighted his Tiger Bay roots and the alternative lifestyle his children now enjoy.
Anna Thomas – BBC Comedy Award Winner 2021, judge of this year’s edition, and dog lover – arrived on stage pushing a box with a teeny guitar and proceeded quirkily with a set of one-liners and Welsh-centric jokes. Barry boy Mike Bubbins, co-host of the Socially Distanced Sports Bar podcast, rocked up in his trademark sleazy 70s-style shirt, moustached up to the max with croc-skin cowboy boots (allegedly). His routine consisted of taking the piss out of triathletes, and the pointlessness of it all – hard to disagree – and how, as an ex-PE teacher, he struggles with his weight. For the second half, that trio were followed up by the north Walian Tudur Owen: a great routine, if in parts difficult to hear (as it goes, he included material on his region’s accent and how Alexa struggles to understand his wife. We’ve all been there). Carys Eleri turned on her self-deprecating anecdotes and room-quaking tunes – He Dumped Me On Zoom a particular highlight.
The final turn was a green sequin-clad Kiri Pritchard-Mclean who belted out her tales of naughty exploits and catching oneself in a mirror; a monologue on the topic of self-waxing will bring tears to your eyes and make a welder blush – but she was bloody hilarious and played the audience like a pro. How she strutted across the stage in those killer heels, I’ll never know.
Packed to the rafters with applause to match, the audience loved the whole night, and if the hecklers were anything to go by this venue must have made a killing behind the bar. A night of genuinely brilliant Welsh funnies proved good value for £22; I’m hoping this will be a regular annual fixture as Welsh comedians deserve a magnificent platform like this.
The Best Of Wales Comedy Gala, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay, Sun 23 Oct
words ANTONIA LEVAY