As well as doing a 30-minute set at each of our Spreading the Love Tour gigs, Hannah and Lara also did solos shows at the Women in Comedy Festival. Here they talk about their experiences.
It had been quite some time since I had performed such a long set (a full hour!!) but it was lovely to be able to put together a setlist of 13 songs featuring old classics, a couple of newbies, and a handful of parodies for good measure. As the show was part of the Women In Comedy Festival I thought it was only right to pay tribute to my comedy hero, Victoria Wood, so included a couple of her genius songs in my set too.
A small audience gathered for the 5pm show and I very much enjoyed playing in such a wonderful performance space. Highlights for me were a couple of songs I hadn’t performed for a long time a parody of an Elton John classic, renamed ‘Your Pong’ (about breaking wind and blaming it on somebody else) and ‘Grounds For Divorce’ (a song about garlic featuring SAG Christine’s favourite line… ‘I’m not a vampire, I just don’t like it’. At the end of the show I had some lovely comments from audience members and sold a couple of CDs to boot. A good confidence boost for our final couple of shows.
lara A king
There isn’t really any way to explain the feeling of standing against the wall in a dressing room while stage staff scramble around you looking for more chairs to seat your audience. I had thought I might attract an audience of twelve, maybe sixteen people to my gig at the Women In Comedy Festival. And I would have been happy with that. When I walked out onto the stage at The Kings Arms to about 45 people squidged into the room my heart beat a little faster. I mean, I’ve played to bigger audiences before but this was just so…unexpected. And so lovely. And we had a full hour to enjoy ourselves. Ah, the luxury.
I hadn’t done a full hours show since Edinburgh in 2012 and being on the SAGS tour meant that I hadn’t really had time to rehearse my own show so it seriously felt like I was just going to stand in front of a room full of people and, well, chat about stuff. I do have some material, don’t get me wrong – I’ve got hours and hours of material. I just didn’t know which bits I was going to say in what order! The wonderful BSL Interpreter Katie Fenwick had committed to interpreting the show which also somehow made me feel like I shouldn’t say anything too stupid!
That didn’t seem to stop me though. In fact having Katie on stage with me, and consequently Little Ali from the SAGS who held up cards displaying the lyrics to my songs gave the whole experience a completely different dynamic and led to the most unique performance I have ever enjoyed the good fortune to be part of.
The audience were splendidly rowdy for 6.30pm in the afternoon. I wondered if they had started drinking early as the heckling and joining in became more frequent. Lovely familiar faces like my good old mate Becky who was up from London; Rose, who can remember me performing at ‘A Truly Western Experience’ sometime last century; Annie and Michelle – my ‘forces sweethearts’; brand new mates Sam and Harriet who I met (along with Katie) at this year’s WIT festival and even newer fans that had come to support me having seen previous gigs on the Spreading The Love tour. A special mention goes to Pammie Clinton who came to more gigs than I could count and paid decent money for my old SAGS shirt which meant that I could pay Katie for her trouble and Pammie got a nice new tent.
The Women In Comedy Festival is a truly brilliant festival run by the extremely dedicated and hard working Hazel O’Keefe who also runs Laughing Cows amongst other things. Hazel is great and I missed performing at the inaugural festival last year so it was a real treat for me to be included in this year’s programme. Here’s hoping I’ll be there next year and for many years to come and well done Hazel for putting such a brill fest together.
If I had to give the show a title I think I would have to call it “In conversation with….” because that is how it felt. The audience were so warm and up for it that it really did feel like we were all just having a chat. I told a few gags and they laughed in the right places; I played a couple of songs and they all sang along; I told a few stories – some that I’ve never told before – some that I’ll never tell again – and as I left the stage, strewn with sheets of A4 card printed with song lyrics and cables and empty beer glasses to the sound of cheering and clapping and the sight of my beautiful audience all smiling and waving their hands in a mass of BSL applause I knew that this had most definitely been a one off. A dream gig. A truly wonderful experience.