Mark Thomas kicks off five-night Key Comedy Festival

Back for its fourth year, the Key Comedy Festival returns to the Embankment venue in Peterborough.

Wednesday, 9th March 2016, 5:24 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th March 2016, 5:31 pm
The Key Comedy Festival

There are five nights of fun from Wednesday, March 9, through to Sunday, March 13, with shows in the Main House and Studio Theatre simultaneously.

There are names you’ll recognise from the TV mixed in with some of the brightest rising stars along with Edinburgh sell-outs and the Comedy Festival’s funniest joke!

It all kicks with Mark Thomas – Trespass (March 9), which carries on from where Mark’s previous show 100 Acts of Minor Dissent left off.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

It is his usual odd mix of theatre, stand up, activism, a dash of journalism, activism and dollop of mayhem.

In the studio, in a change to the festival’s traditional comedy , there is Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho, which comes on the back of two total sell-out runs at the Edinburgh Fringe and London’s Leicester Square Theatre.

It is a drag comedy musical extravaganza like no other.

March 10 sees Fascinating Aida’s Dillie Keane taking a short break from her Fascinating Aïda gal pals to present her first solo show in years.

With brand new tunes, grand old favourites, gorgeous songs of love and hilarious songs of utter wickedness, Dillie will break your heart, mend it again and have it sent to the cleaners for pressing.

And she’ll give you her recipe for chutney while she’s at it.

At the same time (in the Studio) , there’s Nathan Caton – Straight Outta Middlesex.

After stellar performances on BBC One’s Live at the Apollo and Mock The Week, Radio 4’s Can’t Tell Nathan Caton Nothin’ and wowing audiences in comedy clubs up and down the UK, this rising star is back with his unique blend of charming, charismatic and intelligent on-point comedy in a show not to be missed!

There is a triple treat on March 1, starting with Peterborough’s very own Darren Walsh – Punderbolt.

Fresh from winning Dave’s Joke of the Fringe last year, Darren brings his sell-out show to his home city for one night.

Punderbolt combines animations, videos, sound effects, drawings, ad-libbing and surreal nonsense.

Then, in the main house, star of the hit Channel 4 comedy Catastrophe Rob Delaney brings his critically acclaimed Meat tour to the Key.

Rob, regarded as one of America’s most gifted stand-ups, has appeared on Have I Got News For You, 8 out of 10 Cats, The Graham Norton Show, Alan Carr: Chatty Man,Bad Robots and Would I Lie to You? as well as Jimmy Kimmel Live! and CONAN in the US.

His stand-up special Live at the Bowery Ballroom is currently available on Netflix and his book Rob Delaney: Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage is available from Little Brown UK.

Finally, as seen on Inside No.9 (BBC2) and as heard on BBC Radio 4’s Sketchorama, the award-winning Gein’s Family Giftshop are at the Key on their first ever UK tour.

Feast your eyes upon an hour and a half of sketches that aren’t for everyone, but might just be for you.

Headlining Saturday night in the main house, we see the return of Mark Steel with his new show Who do I think I am? described as a surprising and enthralling story told with aplomb.

Meanwhile in the studio, Alun Cochrane’s A Show With A Man In It includes jokes about manliness, womanliness, hobbies, ageing, fighting, perfume, beards, snoods, feminism, fundamentalism, and hopefully some profound understanding about life itself.

Sadly, James Acaster - Represent, the headline on March 13 has already sold out, but he will no doubt be closing the comedy festival with his unique blend of humour and wit.

Stephen Chalmers at the Key Theatre said “We are thrilled to see the return of the Key’s annual Comedy Festival.

“Comedy continues to go from strength to strength at the theatre and we are really pleased to be attracting both new and exciting, and established names to the Key.”

For full details on the full festival or to book tickets call the box office on 01733 207239 or visit