FEATURE: Jesterval | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Harriet Dyer’s Soo’s A Prick

You may have noticed this issue contains a wealth of comedy festivals and Edinburgh Fringe preview shows; we’re well placed on the route up to Edinburgh, so the North East is enjoying a comedic boom. One of the real highlights will be Newcastle’s fortnight-long extravaganza Jesterval, which rocks up to its new Quayside home at Live Theatre from Monday 16th until Sunday 29th July.

There’ll be household names from the telly as well as up-and-coming comics performing some of their earliest shows, as Festival organiser Della Hadingham explains: “The Jesterval brand is trusted to deliver diversity, and we will take a punt on an unknown act. This was always one of our intentions as a festival, to become an additional platform to some of the best acts on the circuit that may not have any TV profile but are just as good, if not better than, some of the TV acts.”

Particular highlights include Harriet Dyer, who investigates the selective mutism of beloved children’s characters with her musical show Soo’s A Prick; Australian stand-up Brendon Burns will attempt to investigate and redefine masculinity with his Mansplainin’ show (both Wednesday 18th); frequenter of cross-channel panel and comedy shows, Paul Foot will be previewing what’s sure to be another quirky and indescribable show, Image Conscious; while Luisa Omielan delves into the murky world of funding, filibustering and factions in Politics for Bitches, in which she’ll put her filthy-humour spin on today’s most pressing matters (both Friday 20th).

BBC New Comedy Award Winner Yuriko Kutoni, as seen on CBBC’s prime time comedy quiz The Dog Ate My Homework, works the kinks out of new show Overwork In Progress; Canadian comic Tanyalee Davis will bring her own racy one-woman show to Newcastle (both Saturday 28th); part-time journalist and full time stand-up performer Sally-Anne Hayward will be showcasing Comedienne-ess, in which she fully embraces her bitchy side (Wednesday 25th). More risqué opinions come courtesy of Catherine Bohart, the ‘bisexual OCD daughter of a Catholic Deacon’; Bennet Arron dishes the dirt in his show I’ve Never Told Anyone This (both Monday 16th); there’s off-beat surrealism and awkward jokes from Peter Brush (Friday 20th); sweary comic Mark Nelson showcases his dark humour (Sunday 22nd); and there’s a silent and strange physical comedy show from The Kagools (Friday 27th).

The local contingent do us proud, as razor-sharp comedy comes from a favourite of ours, Lauren Pattison. Her new show Peachy promises more coarse humour and potent wit (Saturday 21st); the ever-modest Gavin Webster shows off his performance I Am Stand Up Comedy (Sunday 22nd); I, Daniel Blake actor Dave Johns will also perform (Monday 16th); Hal Branson and Matt Reed bring their panel show based on the movies, Gag Reels to Jesterval (Tuesday 17th); Kai Humphries celebrates life in his hilarious new show (Sunday 22nd); Hal Branson’s superb Mbolo Fringe preview chats about his oddball African adventures (Monday 23rd); Lee Kyle is inexplicably Kicking Potatoes Into The Sea (Wednesday 25th); and John Scott presents his thought-provoking Delusions (Thursday 26th).

And that’s not even all of it! Check out their website for the full list.

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