Preview: The Week Ahead May 12 - 18

A lot of comedy to get through this week so I’ll cut to the chase. From Monday night Marcus Brigstocke brings his latest show, Je M’Accuse to the Soho Theatre. Brigstocke is usually passionately political onstage, but this is his “and this is me” moment, in which he gets personal, discussing his time as a podium dancer, oil rig worker and over-eater. When I saw this set in Edinburgh last summer he was on crutches, having performed a dance move the previous night that someone in their forties should probably never attempt. It’s worth going to Soho just to see if he dares to try it again.

Also at the Soho Theatre from Monday is Adrienne Truscott, with her powerful, provocative show that dissects the recent culture of rape jokes. While the show won the Foster’s Panel Prize at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards I was not entirely convinced that Truscott’s argument was completely consistent. But it is certainly a strikingly important show and an unusual one – I can’t think of any other recent stand-up shows performed naked from the waist down.

I recently spent five hours on a train with Robin Ince on the way to Machynlleth and had some interesting chats with him when he popped his head out over the pile of books he was working his way through. Still, as Joe Strummer once said, you've gotta have input to have output and Ince puts that bookworm-sensibility to good use this Wednesday when he comes to the Bloomsbury Theatre with his Robin Ince Is Out Of His Mind show in which he prods the human mind and embarks on a rapidfire tour of the human brain using, as he says in his own words, his “own shoddy one as an example”. There is actually nothing shoddy about Ince’s mind, but beware, this show could last almost as long as that train journey I shared with him. Ince has so many ideas to get out onstage – and none of them ever less than fascinating – he is rapidly turning into comedy’s very own neurologically-inclined Ken Dodd.

And finally if you have a busy life but like your comedy big, there are three options this week.  Al Murray fronts a benefit at the Comedy Store tonight with Loretta Maine and Paddy Lennox, then there’s Comedy For Depression at the Union Chapel on Thursday featuring Jason Manford, Hal Cruttenden, Ellie Taylor, Adam Hess, Angela Barnes and many more. And you can cram a year’s worth of arena comedy visits into one night and support a worthy charity by going to the Channel 4 Comedy Gala at the O2 on Friday in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital, with a line-up that includes Adam Hills, Aisling Bea, Alan Carr, Kerry Godliman, Jack Dee, Jason Byrne, Jason Manford, Jo Brand, John Bishop, Jon Richardson, Jonathan Ross, Josh Widdicombe, Kevin Bridges, Lee Evans, Michael McIntyre, Paddy McGuinness, Paul Chowdhry, Rob Beckett, Sean Lock, Seann Walsh, Warwick Davis and many more.

Nice to see some new names among the old favourites there. This year’s benefit is particularly significant as this annual show was always put together by super agent Addison Cresswell, who died last December and was always a big supporter of Great Ormond Street Hospital.

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