Kevin Hayes & Lucy Porter, Loughborough Town Hall
The show starts with support act Kevin Hayes (not advertised). The problem with support acts (unless they are announced in advance) is that you don't always know what you are getting, and sometimes the crowd gets restless. Sometimes you get to see a natural talent just starting out (e.g. Josie Long supporting Stewart Lee a few years ago), and sometimes you get to see a good comedian who isn't topping the bill yet. But there's always the risk of someone who's not very good.
Thankfully that doesn't apply to Kevin Hayes. He's been around for over 10 years, taken several shows to Edinburgh and been on Radio 4 a good few times. He mixes politics with religion, lets a few subtle gags float out into the audience and then pops in some banter with one or more audience members. One or two of the themes aren't always original (being rewarded with 72 virgins) but he is consistently funny.
On then to the main event, Lucy Porter's latest show, The Bare Necessities. Like her previous shows Lucy Porter's Love In, The Good Life (available on DVD), Happiness and Lady Luck, it has a title and a vague theme, but it is essentially a vehicle for Porter's jokes, self-deprecating wit and observations about life, the universe and everything.
And she started the show with a free comedy gift - the Loughborough Echo, our local quality weekly round up of nothing in particular. Now, looking at the local paper as part of a comedy show is nothing new, but this week's front page has a little teaser story that's not to be missed, "Public toilets face closure amid sordid sex sessions". This is indeed comedy gold, with one of the funniest sentences ever seen in the paper:-
"Carrots, believed to have been used in sexual acts, have been found"
So Lucy had a little fun with this story (fun enhanced by several members of the Echo staff being present in the audience) before moving seamlessly into her set. As usual, she was funny and had the audience rolling with laughter all the way through. She works the room well and tells her stories with a knowing wink and a nudge, always pleased if the audience has got ahead of her slightly, and always ready for some playful banter.
A brilliant show, carefully observed and superbly delivered. And as this was the first night of the tour, you've got plenty of chances to catch it for yourself.