One doesn't really know what to expect from a night labelled Quippodrome. The website, scarce and intriguing, offers little explanation. A video plays in the centre of the website of past Quippodrome evenings and I'm immediately thinking of early Mighty Boosh. Homemade costumes, silly looking characters, exaggerated acting.
From the offset, the evening was welcoming. Compares Jack Evans, and Edy Hurst invite the audience to feel relaxed, and assure us that the evening is probably going to fail. But when it fails, it also works. The performers, clearly well versed in comedy, quickly manage to pick themselves up, find a response, and even on this occasion, lecture about Kangaroos killing Dingoes; all to bemused laughter. It's a journey for both the audience and the performers and not your regular comedy night.
The evening continues with Chris Cantrill who has established himself around the UK as a comedian with a penchant to see the funny side in life's (sur)real stories. His set changes the pace a little, but the laughs keep coming.
After a short interval, we're welcomed back for the main event, The Quippodrome. The four players, Jack, Edy, Jayne and Jon perform a variety of characters and vignettes, worthy of early Channel Four (or when Channel Four was good|). It even kicks off with a very Adam & Joe-esque title card and Evans’ Detective Inspector Horse-hand, who wouldn't look out of place on Vic Reeves Big Night Out. D.I. Horse-hand (a Holyrood experiment if you were wondering) spins his surreal yarn about a whole menagerie of weird equine-hybrid Scots people, and the audience loves it.
The melee of other characters who appear on stage in unique, original acts continue. Dr. Love (yes, we've all heard of him, but we've never actually met him!) gives us some tips on the best sex positions, all with brilliantly graphic drawings.
"It's ok, the perspective may be skewed, but she has breasts, so…"
The segue between the Crane Position and the Fraser Crane Position drew the biggest laughs. We're literally taken on a rollercoaster in the next act with a great use of a web-cam, a stick, and a couple of straws. This part of the show seemed like a metaphor for the whole evening, with its twists and turns, the ups, and the downs, and, of course, the failures (I'd suggest gaffer taping the extension lead!).
The evening is drawn to a close with a wonderful character from the comedic brain of Jayne Edwards. After all the high testosterone, it's a welcoming relief to see Jayne, and her ‘pube art’ will stick in my mind like... well, like a pube sticks in your teeth. Confidently Jayne’s character informs us of how to make it in the porn industry when she was directing. A surreal little story that wonderfully re-introduces the rest of the characters back on stage.
Overall, I've not seen anything like this before. These guys have worked the circuit, and got bored with the scene. They may be doing this for the love of comedy, and I hope they are, because that rawness and passion, and the laughs they gave the whole audience was worth way more than the door price. So much so, I'm going back next month.
Words: Colm Feeley