Preview: The Week Ahead March 24 - 30

Sean Hughes

A big week for big comedy. Roger Daltrey's Teenage Cancer Trust shows are at the Royal Albert Hall all week and on Tuesday it's the annual comedy night. In the past Russell Brand, Little Britain and Noel Fielding have been among the guests who have shaken things up. This year's line-up is more of a no-nonsense stand-up bill, but undoubtedly a pretty strong one. Jason Manford finds time in his busy schedule as a budding comedy club entrepreneur to introduce Micky Flanagan, John Bishop, Patrick Kielty, Rob Beckett and Hal Cruttenden. Something for everyone there, though maybe a token woman would have been nice.

On Wednesday Sean Hughes brings his new show, Penguins, to the Tricycle Theatre for a short residency. Hughes was one of my favourite comedians when he first emerged in the 1990s, but I got the impression that working on Never Mind The Buzzcocks sucked some of the joy out of him. Having left the show though he has re-emerged as a formidable storyteller. As whimsical and daft as he was when he started out, but with an undertow of razor-wire sharp insight and intelligence. Highly recommended.

On Thursday night Russell Howard brings his Wonderbox tour to Wembley Arena and then he is at the O2 Arena on March 29. This is not just a UK tour, it's a world tour, but the numerous London dates alone underline how big Howard has become. After these shows he returns to the capital in April for a run at the Royal Albert Hall. Reports of the show suggest that Howard hasn't changed much in recent years – he is still a bit boyishly rude and still telling feelgood stories about his crazy family – and his fans are loving it. Nothing groundbreaking, but he definitely plugs a gap in the market. The most distinctive thing about Howard is that he must be the biggest comedian in the country who doesn't wear a suit.

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