All you need to know about Peterborough’s Key Comedy Festival

The Key Comedy Festival returns to the theatre on Peterborough’s Embankment for the eighth time next month.

Friday, 7th February 2020, 1:47 pm
Updated Friday, 7th February 2020, 1:52 pm
Geoff Norcott. Photo by David Upton. SUS-200114-161429003

Spread over four days, there are the likes of TV legend Clive Anderson, the man in the white suit from The Chase, Paul Sinha, and current stand-up favourites Matt Ricardson and Geoff Norcott.

First up, in the Key Studio on March 12, is Rob Auton with The Time Show, the latest comedy/theatre/spoken word offering from the writer and performer.

Following on from his critically acclaimed shows about talking, hair, sleep, water, faces, the sky and the colour yellow, “the Fringe’s comedian laureate” (British Comedy Guide) now turns his attention to time. He will be asking questions such as “What time is it?” and “What is it time?”

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Clive Anderson

In the main auditorium, Paul Sinha returns to the city with a Hazy Little Thing Called Love.

Paul has lived his life content in the understanding that stability and emotional happiness were lovely ideas, but not really for him. Nonetheless, several decades of cheerfully bearing boozy witness to the narratives of others can slowly change a man. And so can a prosecco-fuelled Christmas.

An award-winning comedian, Paul has appeared on Just A Minute and Fighting Talk on radio, and on QI and Taskmaster on television - but is best known as one of the Chasers, on the ITV quiz show, The Chase.

The following night, (13th) TheDark Room comes to the Studio.

Ben Hart

The audience is trapped in a retro videogame with a sadistic end-of-level boss. Now, they can either escape and win £1000 - or be brutally murdered by the rest of the crowd!

Will you:

A) Find the Light Switch? B) Go North? C) Abandon Hope?

The Dark Room is a live comedy show. It’s also a high-octane, text-based adventure game from improv overlord, comedian John Robertson - he’s harsh, loud, witty and he takes no prisoners. The lights in the venue are dimmed, and audience members choose options which appear on the screen to try and ‘escape the Dark Room’. There are terribly awful prizes for those who fail to escape and ‘die’ in the Dark Room. Filled with stand-up, 80s’ cult references, appalling prizes and more audience chanting than you’d get at a protest – this is a gut-busting, rock n’ roll experiencefor everyone who buys a ticket.

Paul Sinha

Originally an interactive YouTube game created in 2012, The Dark Room quickly went viral and has so far amassed more than 4 million views online. John Robertson then transformed the game into a live show, and with no two shows ever the same, The Dark Room continues to sell out high capacity venues at Insomnia Gaming Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, EB Games Expo, PAX Australia, London Film & Comicon, MCM Comic Con and more.

Simon Evans takes the stage in the main theatre with The Work of the Devil.

Simon Evans’ last show, Genius 2.0 provided an hilarious analysis of the departure of any visible sign of intelligence from modern life. But his new show raises the stakes, with his usual excoriating views of a world on fire given a perspective shift from personal revelations that turned his world upside down this year.

Simon is the star of Live at the Apollo, Mock The Week, BBC Radio 4’s The News Quiz, The Unbelievable Truth & Simon Evans Goes To Market.

Matt Richardson

On March 14 Geoff Norcott will be Taking Liberties in the Studio.

Geoff is known for his unique brand of provocative stand-up. Whatever the contentious subject – he’ll be honest and blunt. Mostly.

As seen on The Mash Report, Live at the Apollo and Mock the Week, Geoff has also appeared frequently on Question Time and can be regularly seen putting the cat amongst the pigeons on UK political debate shows. You may have also heard him on his own Radio 4 comedy special or popping up on The Now Show.

Geoff won an operational medal for his five tours performing to British troops in Afghanistan.

In the main theatre, the host of Whose Line Is It Anyway Clive Anderson brings much-anticipated first ever solo tour to Peterborough.

Me, Macbeth and I is a one-man show guaranteed to be funnier than Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy.

James Campbell

Sunday sees three helpings of fun starting with James Campbell “The Funny World Of…. in the afternoon.

A stand-up comedy show for children over 6 years old, their parents and anyone who likes comedy without rude words.

Hold onto your socks, take the banana out of your ears and enjoy the best comedy for kids from the man who invented it. James’ show will find The Funny Things about everything including pets, couscous, making your own yoghurt, bees, why we have hair and will answer questions such as: “ do sausage dogs eat sausages?”

Later, it is the turn of Ben Hart with his show Wonder

The Britain’s Got Talent 2019 finalist, West End star and multi award-winning magician is embarking on his debut solo tour.

Expect Ben’s most mind-blowing and exciting magic in a show that shines a light on magic, life, the universe and the darkest corners of your imaginations. With the simplest of props, using the objects and minds of the audience, Ben conjures an altogether new kind of magic.

Funny, subversive, often dark and always amazing, Ben has established a reputation for always creating wonderfully alternative magic.

At the age of 16 he was awarded the prestigious Young Magician of the Year award by the Magic Circle and is one of the youngest ever members of The Inner Magic Circle (with Gold Star) – the highest level of the famous Magic Circle. He was nominated for the Time Out and Soho Theatre Cabaret Award in 2013.

The star of Killer Magic, Ben Hart’s Life Hacks Hoax (both BBC3), Now You See It (BBC1), The One Show, Len Goodman’s Partners in Rhyme and countless other TV appearances in the UK and abroad (his work has taken him to America, Australia, across Europe, The Middle East, Asia and Africa).

When not performing magic, Ben invents, writes and directs magic tricks and illusions for TV, theatre and film. His ideas have been performed by some of the top magicians working in the world, and he has designed illusions for The Royal Shakespeare Company, The Old Vic, The Globe, The Hampstead Theatre and was the mind behind the acclaimed special effects in the West End production of The Exorcist.

Last but not least, Matt Richardson : Imposter takes over the Studio.

Following an acclaimed season at the Edinburgh Festival, the multi award-winning comedian is on the road with a brand-new nationwide tour.

He is fresh from appearances on ITV2’s The Stand Up Sketch Show, Celebrity Juice, Love Island: Aftersun, and Comedy Central’s Roast Battle.

Rob Auton
John Robertson’s The Dark Room,
Simon Evans