The Week Ahead: Nov 24 - 30

Alex horne

One of the finest comedy variety nights out is Alex Horne's Horne Section and our host has just announced a special lunchtime Christmas edition on Dec 18. This week, however, he returns to the day job with the London transfer of this year's Edinburgh Fringe solo show, Lies, at the Soho Theatre from Monday. Horne can always be relied upon to come up with eccentric, quirky and thoroughly researched shows. In the past he has explored the very essence of what makes us laugh and tried to teach his audience Latin.

Last time round he tried to condense an entire life into an hour, which was a bit of a challenge. This year he has been a shade more realistic and explores the nature of honesty. This show, we are told, contains a panda. But then that may be a lie. What it will definitely contain is wit, wordplay and Horne's amiable style of semi-professorial boffin-type humour.

Another comedian who majors in family-friendly, brainy fun is Bill Bailey. We thoroughly enjoyed and reviewed his Qualmpeddler show when it was at the Hammersmith Apollo earlier this year and we thought he had put it to bed. But you can't keep a great musical comedian down and Bailey returns this week with a final super-sized, Deluxe edition at Wembley Arena on Friday.

Bailey recently said in an interview that he has now fulfilled his contractual live DVD obligations and hinted that he may not necessarily do much stand-up comedy for a while. If this is the case it will be a terrible shame. Bailey is one of our most treasured entertainers, flying the flag for smart comedy while those around him dumb down. Where else will you get riffs on the absurdity of modern politics and a story about saving an owl from ending up in a stir-fry in the same show. All this and much more will be present and correct on Friday. And I suspect, given the venue's proximity to Wembley Stadium, we shall be getting Bailey's priceless version of the Match of the Day theme as a Yiddish folk song too.

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