Monday, 30 June 2014

Hulme and Rights @ Work for Change Co-op, 31.05.14

Playing to a packed audience in the small but strangely cavernous space that is The Yard at Birley Street in Hulme, Daniel Kitson, Josie Long and Molly Naylor came together for the Hulme and Rights fundraising gig in aid of Freedom for Torture, a cause which clearly doesn’t merit any humour but whose important work gained wider prominence among a hugely enthusiastic, ‘up for it’ audience.

For fans of wryly observed narrative humour on the minutiae of everyday life, Kitson, Long and Naylor have clearly honed their comedic craft to perfection with each of them providing whimsical, sometimes anarchic and hugely self-deprecating observations on the trials of modern life.

Daniel got the evening off to a great start in his role as compère and warm-up merchant for Josie Long. He explored a mix of narratives, including his paranoiac outsider observations from taking a solitary trip to a campsite in North Wales the day before the gig and making boastful reminders of his globetrotting exploits as a comic (“Did I tell you I was in New York?”), ricocheting mercilessly off his heckling audience to fuel his ironically immodest fire of self-importance. Effortless and genius.

Josie Long, meanwhile, provided a quaintly acerbic counterfoil to Kitson’s humour with some touching and profound observations on personal relationships. I always get anxious when comics – or any performer for that matter – seek audience participation, but I found myself charmed by Josie’s entreaties to join her in her fatalistic, guitar-accompanied elegy to disappointment and heartbreak. It was funny and touching in equal measure.

Finally, Molly Naylor had me in stitches with her all-too-honest and self-knowing observations, amongst other confessional narratives of her failed attempt to get to the right airport for a flight to Berlin for a gig. All based on the heroic wrong assumption. I loved the way she conveyed that self-righteous ‘London’ sense of knowing her stuff and her insistence of being right, even at the checking in desk, when clearly arriving at Stansted for a flight taking off from Southend was wrong, wrong, wrong. Hilarious.

Laughs all-round from a trio of comics whose narrative craft deserved the energy and adulation from a crowd who believed in them as much as the cause they were supporting.

Thanks also to Laura Harper, a volunteer, who talked about the work for Freedom From Torture and to the artists who donated their work for the fundraising raffle.

Words & photos: Tom Warman

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