Preview: The Week Ahead Sept 23 - 29

claudia O'Doherty

Some strong shows opening at the Soho Theatre this week. Cult US star Jen Kirkman follows in the footsteps of her podcasting chum Paul F Tompkins and makes her UK debut with a run starting on Monday in which she discusses her recent marriage break-up and the pros and cons of not having children. Then later in the week there is another personal show, this time from Hannah Gadsby who finds humour while confronting the lowest point in her life in Happiness is a Bedside Table from Tuesday to Saturday.

But the most interesting show starting at the Soho Theatre this week is Claudia O'Doherty in Pioneer, which runs from Monday until October 5. O'Doherty picked up a Foster's Award nomination for her show in 2012 and great things were expected this year. I saw Pioneer in the first week of Edinburgh and thought that it was a bit of a case of style over content – a lot of the show is performed from behind a screen and various special effects tended to get in the way of the gags. But there is no denying that it is an interesting departure for multi-media comedy and I did hear reports that there were early technical hitches so maybe it got better. If you've not seen O'Doherty before you should definitely go for this one – it might feel like jumping into a cold swimming pool at the deep end but once you are in it should be lovely.

Fans of purer stand-up will be on firmer ground at the Hammersmith Apollo on Thursday night when the theatre plays host to two comedians, Seann Walsh and Josh Widdicombe, who might not have been that big when the dates was announced for this DVD recording earlier this year, but are arguably big enough now to fill the Apollo in their own right now. Josh Widdicombe has definitely built up a following thanks to his appearances on C4's The Last Leg – interestingly a lot of people have been coming to my interview with Widdicombe on this site by googling the words "Josh Widdicombe Girlfriend" so he clearly has a number of admirers checking if he is available. But I would imagine he would also have a lot of admirers who appreciate his one-liners and observational stories as well as his devilishly boyish grin.

If 2013 has been a good year for Widdicombe it has been an even better one for Seann Walsh, whose Foster's Award-nominated Edinburgh show, The Lie-In King, was a quantum leap up from his previous laddish ramblings. The boozy tales are still there, but this time they are linked together more thoughtfully, way more focussed and funnier than ever. Walsh has always been a very physical performer but here he excels himself, particularly when imagining himself dozily kicking a ball back to kids in the park or dreaming of being in Limp Bizkit. Nothing dozy or limp about this show.

 

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