Iain Peebles has kindly donated his time to help out at Newport Comedy Festival. Here, he tells us why he wanted to volunteer:
It’s really exciting to be part of Comedy Port 2010 even if it’s only in a small way, as a volunteer. I jumped at the chance to lend a hand when the call went out because I think Wales really needs, and deserves, a great comedy festival. One that can establish itself and become the first thing comedy fans from across Britain mark in their diary each year. Well maybe second, after Edinburgh, let’s not set our sights too high. It’s always puzzled me why Leicester, for example, can have a long running and well respected comedy festival and there not be something similar in Wales.
I think things are looking up though now that Wales has three youthful comedy festivals, that I know of at least, in Cardiff, Machynlleth and now Newport. And there’s no reason why they all can’t be equally essential events for comedy fans as I think they all offer something unique. What makes Comedy Port stand out, I think, is that it offers so much more than just stand up, although there’s plenty of that too. It’s clear that there’s been a real effort to think about comedy in a broader sense and offer something different whether it’s theatre or film, quizzes or clowns…they’re all at Comedy Port 2010 and, for what it’s worth, these are the bits I’m most excited about:
Taxi, from Tin Shed Theatre Co, is a fascinating sounding concept. It follows three characters taking a taxi ride and their conversations with a cabby…in an actual cab. Not an actual cab on a stage, an actual cab driving around Newport with three audience members eavesdropping on the action. This sounds like experimental theatre of the best kind; genuinely pushing boundaries without being difficult or obtuse. Something everyone can enjoy…three people at a time. Please form an orderly queue.
On the film front I am super excited about Skeletons, the debut feature from upcoming British director Nick Whitfield. It won the Michael Powell award for Best New British Film at this year’s Edinburgh Film festival and a whole load of critical acclaim on it’s release earlier this year. It follows the exploits of a pair of “psychic cleaners” (played by stand-up duo Andrew Buckley and Ed Gaughan) who travel the country to clear the skeletons of former misdeeds from the closets of their clients. It’s a comedy but and odd, surreal and dark one. Exactly my cup of tea in other words.
Now I love a good quiz…and Quiz Quest is nothing like a good quiz. It’s a bloody brilliant one is what it is! Comedian Ben Partridge and ‘internet sensation’ Jonny Bull are the brains behind this monthly themed quiz which is festooned with all kinds of multimedia goings on. Video, music, pictures and more all lovingly compiled and presented as part of the quiz which is always great fun, genuinely funny and a real challenge. A tough balancing act but they pull it off month after month. The ever increasing turnout is testament to that.
You might not think it from the above waffling but there is actually some stand-up comedy at Comedy Port. Too much great stuff to mention so I’ll I just tell you what I am most excited about; Tony Law. Expect surreal tales of time travelling in the company of his sausage dog, Cartridge Davison, and other odd asides. It’s the kind of off the wall stuff that might seem a bit too self aware and “zany” in lesser hands but Tony Law has such an enthusiastic and likeable (if a little scary) presence he carries it off with aplomb.
But if any of those don’t tickle your fancy then fear not; with so much packed into Comedy Port’s 9 days there’s bound to be something for everyone. There’s a host of stand-up I’ve not even mentioned, plenty more comedy film and even a good old fashioned clown. So pick up a programme, or just look at the schedule, and dive right in.