Ready for the Key Comedy Festival of fun and laughter

Key Comedy Festival starts on March 11
Key Comedy Festival starts on March 11
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There are 10 performances to look forward to over six days as the Key Comedy Festival returns for the third year starting on Wednesday (March 11).

First up is versatile singer/organist, John Shuttleworth, who has a dilemma: he wanted to tell the audience all about his most memorable weekends in his exciting new show – A Weekend to Remember. But next-door neighbour and sole agent, Ken Worthington has thwarted John’s plans, by messing up the artwork of the show’s poster. “Weekend” has become “Wee Ken” and there’s nothing John can do about it.

He is now duty-bound to steer the evening towards a celebration of the diminuitive impressario’s life in “A WEE KEN to Remember”.

And so we learn of Ken’s period as a beatnik in the 60s “when he owned a finger monkey”, his legendary appearance on New Faces in ’73, and Ken’s botched suicide attempt when he planned to throw himself into the canal. “But he tested the temperature of the water, and it was too cold for him!” explains John.

And what of John’s own past weekends? Surely some of them involved Ken, and what about his wife, dinnerlady, Mary? Is there a particular reason she’s giving John the silent treatment?

“A Wee Ken To Remember” is a hilarious new show from “The king of retro and old-school England” and features onstage phone calls to Ken and Mary, plus musical interludes performed as ever on John’s Yamaha organ with built-in auto accompaniment.

On the same night in the studio theatre next door is Foster’s Best Newcomer Nominee 2014 Lucy Beaumont.

The winner of The BBC New Comedy award, Chortle Best Newcomer and star of BBC 3’s Live at the Electric, Lucy presents her hugely anticipated debut show. Spend an hour in Lucy’s universe on the North-East coast with her unique blend of surreal, offbeat humour and big belly laughs.

Lucy will be supported by Ben Schofield on the night.

On Thursday (March 12), fresh from donkeys years on his award winning BBC Radio 4 series and the huge success of his BBC TV sitcom, Count Arthur Strong gets back to doing what he does best.

In ‘Somebody Up There Likes Me’ he’ll be doing all sorts of wonderful things.You’ll laugh, cry and the other one. .

The Reduced Shakespeare Company take over the Key on Friday (March 13). They’ve skewered history, the Bible and the world’s most celebrated playwright, now for the Complete History of Comedy (abridged).

The show covers comedy through the ages, from Aristophanes and Shakespeare and Moliere to Vaudeville and Charlie Chaplin to The Daily Show and Nick Clegg!

Mitch Benn is in the studio theatre with his new show Don’t Believe A Word on Friday (March 13).

“I’m a skeptic. But don’t take my word for it. Or indeed anybody’s. For anything….” is the basic premise of Mitch’s new critically acclaimed show.

It’s a show that will make you laugh a lot and think a bit as well as Mitch debunks myths, exposes nonsense and grapples with the very nature of knowledge itself extolling the virtues of an evidence-based approach to life …. with amusing consequences and of course a few songs along the way.

Little Howard brings his Big Show for Kids to the Key on Saturday (March 14, 4pm) - the world’s only live interactive animation.

He’s won so many awards and fantastic reviews and he’s only just celebrated his 6th birthday (for the tenth year in a row)!

He’s also a published author and has done lots of television stuff, like The Royal Variety Performance, The Slammer (CBBC) and Little Howard’s Big Question (BBC1) — yes, he’s even had his own television show!

Yet Little Howard is true to his roots and live theatre is still his first love.

With interactive stand-up, live animation on stage and lots of jokes and songs this really is a show that all the family can enjoy.

Later on Saturday (8pm) Rich Hall, star of the critically acclaimed BBC 4 documentaries ‘Rich Hall’s Continental Drifters’, ‘Rich Hall’s The Dirty South’’ and ‘How The West Was Lost’ takes the stage.

His critically acclaimed grouchy, deadpan style has established him as a master of absurdist irony and the king of rapid-fire wit.

The award-winning Montana native renowned for his expertly crafted tirades and quick fire banter with audiences and delightful musical sequences saddles up and hitches his wagon to tour the British Isles once again.

Perrier (Edinburgh Comedy Festival) Award and Barry (Melbourne International Comedy Festival) Award winner Hall has been described as a transatlantic messenger lampooning each country he visits with his common sense, and he is no less harsh to his homeland.

In the studio (8.30pm) returning from his critically acclaimed, sell-out Edinburgh 2014 show, Andrew Lawrence, heads back onto the road with Reasons To Kill Yourself.

He’s been on BBC1’s Live at the Apollo and BBC3’s Edinburgh Comedy Fest Live a regular on Channel 4’s Stand-Up For The Week. He’s had three series of his own show on BBC Radio 4. He’s a double Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee. Yet none of that rubbish has brought him any joy. Come and laugh in his stupid face at his disappointing life and some amusing thoughts he’s cobbled together about how awful the world is.

Closing the festival on Monday (March 16) are separate performances in the studio by Marcel Lumont and Alexis Dubus.

Marcel offers a modern man’s majestic musings on mortality, morality and masculinity. He is the winner of Fringe World Award for Best Comedy Show 2013 and Amused Moose Award 2012.

Alexis, an acclaimed UK comic, presents his first spoken word show — a true poetic tale of travel and heartbreak.

Contains traces of UFOs, truckers, bean festivals and the Dutch.

Tickets from the Key box office on 01733 207239 or visit