Comedy

The Bath Comedy Festival programme is out and very impressive it is too.

As well as directing my grumpy good friend Arthur Smith in his hilarious Easter egg hunt for grown ups, I’m pleased to say that I am involved in both the cheapest and most expensive events on the list.

The cheapie is a day of daft guided tours of Natural Theatre’s revamped HQ in Widcombe. For just two quid visitors can experience the backstage thrills ofBath’s most exotic cultural export. They can view with awe the giant chewing gum and giant dog muck constructed for the Lewisham Anti-litter Days. They can try on the mask of the actual flowerpot man that met Margaret Thatcher and fondle Lady Margaret’s collection of exclusive frocks (one for every occasion as long as it’s a dog show).

The really brave can model a nude suit. The more retiring can simply enjoy a cup of tea and a biscuit as they rifle through the archives that go right back to 1969. Want to know what the dictator ofTurkmenistansaid to us on the phone during Carpet Week in Ashgabat? Or how the Amish reacted to our antics inOhio? Or why John Prescott broke into a rarely seen run on seeing us approaching? It’s all there in the records.

The more expensive event is the fifty pound a head charity ball dubbed Up the Pump Room. Although we have promised the authorities that we won’t head too far down the Frankie Howerd route, there will be a toga-tying competition (there are seven and a half metres in a proper toga. None of your Rag Week bed sheets here, missus) and dancing to the nostalgic sounds of the Stuttgarter Saloniker orchestra.

These accomplished musicians have a repertoire of over a hundred numbers from tangos to Tchaikovsky and are based in an amazing art nouveau chateau in Baden-Wurttemberg, where they stage tea dances and elegant musical soirees.  They are huge fans of the Natural’s classical music spoofs which gained cult status in Germany some years ago. Hence their willingness to fly over for expenses only to help raise funds for our new project for disabled performers.

Yes folks, we are certainly going to have our chuckle muscles exercised in April.

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