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Stage Editorial

justinqueen.jpg Queen sized laughs

We’re absolutely loving the Queen’s Hall Arts Centre’s new programme and their line-up of comics looks particularly enticing.

“There’s probably some of you staring at me now, judging me. You probably haven’t got kids. Don’t get me wrong, we love them – that shit’s natural – but don’t like ‘em. Joyless mood hoovers. Life robbers. Ambition stealers. Time takers. Non-productive little shits.” That’s the brilliant Justin Moorhouse (pictured) giving his children both barrels. He can get away with such stuff because it’s all said with a twinkle in his eye. But these days he’s racked with uncertainty. One kid is leaving home and his youngest has just hit thirteen and wants to cancel the family subscription to The Beano. There are worries from further afield, too. Brexit is looming, the Cold War appears to have been rebooted and then there’s America. On top of all this, the golden age of the Northern white male comic has passed. How will he adapt if he wants to survive?

Another comic who has had plenty to say about children and families is Laurence Clark. He starred in BBC1’s documentary ‘We Won’t Drop the Baby’, which focused on a couple with cerebral palsy as they prepared for a second child. The huge response it received worldwide was at times inspirational and uplifting – at others, derogatory and incredibly personal. In this show – which is in turns both hilarious and moving – Laurence explores these reactions and questions his role as a father, with the help of his two young sons via video, who undoubtedly steal the limelight.

One of the most popular stars of ‘Mock the Week’, ‘Live at the Apollo’ and ‘Q.I.’ is Andy Parsons. It’s often said that the country is in need of healing and if there’s anyone who can do it then it’s this fella. “It was the 24thJune 2016 and I found myself in a supermarket contemplating a meal deal. It was the day after the Referendum, and I’d spent so long confused about what was happening to my country that I was in a rush as I took my three items to the lad on the till. He scanned the first two items no problem but the third item he couldn’t get to scan at all. I thought this is going to be a nightmare – there was a queue building up and he looked like he was going to call the supervisor. Then to his credit, he tried to scan it one more time, it wouldn’t scan – so he went ‘bip’ himself and chucked it through. And it was at that moment I thought ‘oh we’ll be alright as a country we will’.

Justin Moorhouse, Wednesday 13 November, 8pm, £14/£5 unwaged; Laurence Clark, Saturday 30 November, 8pm, £10/£7.50 student; Andy Parsons, Wednesday 4 December, 8pm, £15. Queen’s Hall Arts Centre, Hexham. queenshall.co.uk