Laugh your way free from January blues
I f you're looking for something to help keep the blues at bay beyond this week, Portsmouth plays host to a major comedy event this March.
The Big Mouth Comedy Festival will take over Portsmouth Guildhall on March 10 and 11 and see everyone from established stars to up-and-coming amateurs doing their thing to tickle your funny bones.
Highlights include headliners Russell Kane, Lee Nelson, Andy Parsons and Seann Walsh, to some of the country’s greatest impressionists including Alistair McGowan and Jan Ravens, to the best of Edinburgh previews with Nathan Caton, Jen Brister, Angela Barnes, Ivo Graham and more.
There will also be Q&A sessions with the legendary Sir Tony Robinson on his time as Blackadder’s rogue with a cunning plan, Baldrick, and stars of Red Dwarf Norman Lovett and Hattie Hayridge, and Barry Cryer and Colin Sell’s Strictly Come Joking.
Two-time Guide Comedy Award winner James Alderson will be compere for both days’ evening sessions, and possibly some of the earlier sessions too.
James said: ‘There’s going to be so much going on I won’t be able to see them all because I’ll be running around like a headless chicken.
‘For a local boy to be performing on Portsmouth Guildhall’s stage at an event like this, I don’t think it can get much better.
‘Not only have you got these big names, you’ve got the amateur stage as well where you’ll have the Portsmouth young comic and the Portsmouth comic of the year competitions. Then there’ll be the Edinburgh previews, and the legends stage in the afternoon. The line-up is just jam-packed.
We’ve got about 50 acts all together over the two days – and there won’t be a tent in sight.’
Southsea Common played host to a comedy festival, headlined by master surrealist Eddie Izzard, in 2014. Attempts to bring that back stalled, but James is optimistic about this new jamboree of jokes.
‘I really hope that people will take the festival on board and get tickets so this becomes a regular event. I don’t think there’s a comedy event like it with the range and variety on offer.’
Weekend tickets cost £71. Individual session ticket prices vary. Go to bigmouthcomedyfestival.co.uk.