Socially distanced comedy

As the world tries to get back to some kind of normal, the entertainments industry has started doing stuff again. I’ve been to the cinema quite a bit since they opened back up in May, and more recently I’ve been out to see some live comedy!

Tonight I’ve been at Homeground in Manchester, which is an outdoor venue created by Home to allow for social distancing. It was supposed to be a show with Barbara Nice and Lucy Beaumont, but in the end it was just Barbara because Lucy had been pinged by the Track & Trace app so couldn’t attend!

Barbara Nice at Homeground

I took the tram into town, which was a bit noisier than usual because there were quite quite a few football fans heading into town to watch the Euro finals (I’m not really that bothered by it all, and haven’t actually seen any games throughout the tournament!). I headed over to Home, not realising they had a second venue, so after a bit of confusion, took the short walk over to Homeground. They’ve got a really cool set-up, with a bit of a dystopian fairground flavour(!), with a main stage area where you’re pretty spaced out around tables made from big wooden cable drums.

Because Barbara’s one of Lee’s acts, I’ve seen her live a few times before, and it’s fair to say her shows are pretty random! Because Lucy wasn’t there, it ended up being just an hour long, and involved some questionable karaoke from some members of the audience, but it was pretty funny. And the weather held until the end, when the clouds came over and started to rain over the last bit where the band were playing.

And last night, I finally got to see Mark Watson’s show, ‘How You Can Almost Win’, which is based on his experience of taking part in (and having to leave early from) the TV show ‘The Island with Bear Grylls’.

Mark Watson – ‘How You Can Almost Win’

The show was originally supposed to take place in June last year, but obviously with Covid was postponed, and has had a few rescheduled dates which all passed, until the show finally took place last night, albeit at a different venue because the original one has since closed!

It was at the Waterside Arts Centre in Sale, which like Home, is pretty near a tram stop which was quite handy! The show had been split into two audiences so that everyone could be seated to allow for distancing, so the audience felt a bit slim, but I don’t think it really affected the show too much. I was in the second block, so he’d just done a run through before us, but it still felt pretty fresh and was really funny. I wasn’t overly surprised by some of the things he said about the murky world of TV production (which I have a bit of experience of!), and there were also some pretty thought-providing insights on dealing with life in general.

The first live event I actually went to since the relaxing of restrictions was to see Steve Royle perform last month at The Lowry.

Steve Royle at The Lowry

He came third in last year’s Britain’s Got Talent, and is another one of Lee’s acts so he got me on the guest list for the show, which was supposed to happen a while back but also was rescheduled because of Covid.

It was quite weird being in the main Lyric theatre with so many empty seats – it was originally supposed to be in the smaller Quays Theatre, but had been moved so they could spread everyone out across the multiple tiers. It was a funny show – pretty old school humour – but he really does know how to work a crowd.

Lee after Steve’s show

Afterwards, I chatted with Lee for a bit, and then nipped backstage with him and got to chat briefly with Steve which was cool. I’ve been on the stage at the Lowry a couple of times now, and it really is a brilliant view you get of the auditorium from it, and also fascinating to see how big the backstage area actually is!

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