SOUTHSEA Common was filled with laughter during the opening night of the town’s first ever comedy festival.
And with punters hailing last night’s start of the three-day event a success, the organisers say it will be back next year.
Master surrealist Eddie Izzard headlined last night’s show in a big top on the common, joined by Scottish comedian of the year Larry Dean, cabaret champion Joe Black and local comic James Alderson as compere.
The giant tent was near its 2,000 capacity as Izzard took the audience on a two-hour journey that encompassed human sacrifice, the nature of language, the Olympics and the real Mark Antony.
In a show full of his trademark detours and ad-libs, he was also left bemused by the sound of the nearby hovercraft – at first mistaking it for a plane landing nearby until an audience member set him straight.
Shaun and Tania Nightingale, of Southsea went as they are both huge Izzard fans. Shaun said: ‘It’s been a really good night. I can’t fault it.
‘Hopefully this will become regular occurrence – we wanted to come on Saturday too, but we’ll be away for it.’
Chris Rigby, 55, from Titchfield said: ‘It was excellent, the warm-up act was good, the compere was very funny, and we’ve always wanted to see Eddie.
‘The whole thing has been well laid on, and it seems like it can stand alone alongside the regular Southsea Show.’
Steve Pitt, one of the event’s organisers said after Izzard’s set: ‘We’ve had a fantastic audience in tonight – Eddie was on fire, and the response we’ve had from people overall has been very good.
‘There have been some very minor teething problems, but it’s a learning curve for all of us. This has been a huge team effort. Friday night’s show is sold out, and Saturday’s is rapidly getting that way too. This is the first comedy festival, but it definitely won’t be the last, we will definitely be back again next year.’
Tonight sees the same bill as last night.
Saturday’s Live at the Big Top show features Marcus Brigstocke, Adam Hills, Dana Alexander, Russell Kane and Rob Beckett. Check southseacomedy.co.uk for ticket details.