Shoe Cake Comedy Club – Live Review – Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds
By @Steve Crabtree, October 2020
It seems like a lifetime ago since I enjoyed live indoor entertainment. And as soon as the Carriageworks Theatre announced that the Shoe Cake Comedy Club was going ahead, I had to be there.
After lockdowns and restrictions, it was always going to be a carefully planned project to get this on and get people in. And as we were slowly and sensibly guided to our seats, it wasn’t the usual raucous feel that you get at a comedy club. Spread around the theatre, things were a bit muted beforehand, we were all part of something different.
But then, the lights went down and our MC for the evening Chris Lumb pounded onto the stage. And it was his initial wit and funnies that took the attention away from us sitting apart from each other, relaxed us, and warmed us up nicely.
“A funny, clever set”
Kicking off the comedy was impressionist Charlie Hopkinson. A former teacher from Yorkshire, he had the room in hysterics with an array of voices. An amazing Morgan Freeman tickled me. He gave what seemed like an entire rendition of Peaky Blinders, and made more sense than Boris Johnson doing his bumbling stint as the UK Prime Minister. It was a funny, clever set, and if you’re a GOT fan, you’d have loved his slot.
It was Matt Bragg who followed Charlie, for his dead-pan stint on the mic. He told us about his frustration with Zoom gigs over lockdown, gender reveal parties in St. Albans, and jetting off on holiday and being lumbered next to a first time flyer on the plane. The deadpan/sarcasm kind of humour is my sort of thing and it’s the first time I’d seen Matt Bragg live. I’ll be looking at seeing him again though, next time he’s passing over this way.
For us watching, and for those on stage, I think the sparse audience was a bit of a walk into the unknown. We were belly laughing at times, but as the comedians have less of a crowd to bounce off, it seemed a shade difficult for them at times. They need us as much as we need them. And with no bars open on safety grounds, we were perhaps a more reserved lot.
“Clever and hilarious comedy”
But we were still laughing plenty, and still having fun. Todmorden’s finest import, Martin Mor was our turn for the final part of the show. The Irishman has been a staple of the comedy circuit for years – and there’s good reason he was the headliner. He had everything covered from his beard, to where he lives, to Covid on the microphones and lockdown.
Mor was great, and the show was over in a flash. 75 minutes of clever and hilarious comedy with no breaks in between. It was great – and it was wonderful to be back in a theatre. The Carriageworks and Shoe Cake Comedy had delivered a brilliant night and made it work.
Laughter is something we could all do with a lot more of at the moment. And the return of live comedy is going to help with that. We had a memorable night at Shoe Cake Comedy Club, and here’s hoping there’s plenty more of them to come.