Preview: The Week Ahead – Sept 15 - 21

Magnus Betner

Sometimes it feels as if the Beyond The Joke preview section is an in-house website for the Soho Theatre, which tends to hoover up the best shows in London. This week, however, there is an opportunity to focus on another formidable London venue. The Leicester Square Theatre has two strong shows this week, kicking off with hard-hitting Swede Magnus Betner, who is there for three nights from tonight. 

Betner is a pretty unflinching stand-up. He reminds me a little of Jim Jefferies and Doug Stanhope and like them is not afraid to say the unsayable. His subjects – sex, religion, politics, etc – are not particularly unexpected, but his takes on them are. Betner is a major star at home and if he spent more time in London he could probably be just as big here. He certainly speaks better English than a lot of homegrown comedians. 

Comedy and alcohol go together like, erm, gin and tonic. Not this Wednesday though. Stewart Lee headlines Dry Humour, a benefit for Alcohol Concern at the Leicester Square Theatre. Also appearing on the impressive bill are Paul Sinha, Joe Wilkinson, Paul Tonkinson and Miles Jupp plus a number of comedians for whom the subject is particularly relevant. Jim Smallman has been teetotal for 16 years, while Vikki Stone’s late father was an alcoholic – she talked about him in her most recent show, Instrumental. Interestingly and appropriately, the bar will only be serving soft drinks during the gig.

Elsewhere in London the Museum of Comedy – set up by Martin Witts, who runs the Leicester Square Theatre – is running its own post-Edinburgh Festival. Highlights this week include multi-media shouter David Trent. For further details see here


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