NEWS: JESTERVAL COMEDY FESTIVAL @ BALTIC SQUARE | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Paul Foot

If you’re a real comedy connoisseur then there’s nothing quite like Jesterval. From Friday 3rd until Sunday 12th June the region’s premier comedy festival returns to BALTIC Square for the fourth year running and boasts one of its strongest line-ups yet.

Over the course of ten days there’s plenty of time to catch some of the biggest names on the comedy circuit. Saturday 4th boasts sets by self-styled Laughter Master Stephen K Amos and Paul Foot, who’s taking on pressing issues with the help of Professor Ketchup and his camembert piglet (which sounds quite normal for surreal comic Foot). Immensely respected Australian Brendon Burns returns with his brand new show Dumb White Guy (Friday 3rd) and it’ll either be one of the funniest or cringe-inducing hours of your life (but there’s only one way to find out).

There’s also a host of debut full-length shows from rising talents. Sophie Willan, who has already won countless awards, presents On Record (Sunday 5th), which deals with how a succession of experts assessed her as she was growing up in and out of the care system. Sounds brutal but trust me, it’ll also be a blast. Londoner Sofie Hagen performs Shimmer Shatter (Monday 6th), which originally had the title Poop – somehow I don’t think that’s how it’ll turn out. Elsewhere, Scott Gibson, described by Frankie Boyle as “a gifted, unapologetic storyteller,” muses on love, life and Blackpool in Life After Death (Wednesday 8th).

If you’re a real comedy connoisseur then there’s nothing quite like Jesterval

As with every year, there’s plenty of room to showcase the crème de la crème of the North East. Gavin Webster presents Stewart Lee’s A Window Cleaner (Sunday 5th) and pops up again to talk all things Euro 2016 with Malcolm Macdonald (Saturday 11th). Matt Reed promises provide a load of themeless waffle in Gincredible 2 – his words, not ours (Sunday 5th), while the ever-magnetic Kate Fox treats us to material from her Radio 4 comedy series The Price of Happiness in The Wrong Stuff (Monday 6th). Meanwhile, political firebrand John Scott Smashes It To Fuck (Tuesday 7th). Again, his words…

Make sure you catch some local stars in the making too. Nicola Matalios Lovett brings out the funny side of leaving religion (Sunday 5th), and later that evening George Zach asks whether sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll is all it’s cracked up to be. Lauren Pattison is still coming to terms with being 22 in her work-in-progress Reet Petite (Monday 6th), and one of the promoters of Northumberland’s Punch Drunk Comedy, Kai Humphries, warms up for Edinburgh with his vibrant show In Full Colour (Sunday 12th).

If you’re looking for something a bit different, magician Chris Cross and the Quayside Cabaret Club present their Propa Belta Variety Show (Saturday 4th) where ukulele playing funny man John Archer, the Acropolis Acrobats and hula-hooping burlesque dancers Rosy Bloomers will be providing both giggles and moments of wonder. There’s also street theatre at Grey’s Monument courtesy of NE1, and Jesterval Street Circus introduces some of the region’s leading street performers at Trinity Square.

Jesterval takes place between Friday 3rd and Sunday 12th June at BALTIC Square, Gateshead.

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