Collins & Legge – Live!

So I went to the Hen & Chickens to see these two perform extracts from their new shows. Met up with @Neal55, @Misswiz, @Kateweb and “Sir Bob” (or Bob as I call him). It was only 10 minutes walk from my house which was very handy.

The Hen & Chickens is quite a well known comedy venue, and very intimate though this was my first visit here. I’m planning to see Gary Delaney (and hopefully Sarah Millican) there next Monday, as well as Stewart Lee & Bridget Christie in the nearish future. It was very busy when we arrived; unpleasantly so in fact, but as the evening went on some of the people thankfully headed off. Upstairs was a really nice, almost “proper” theatre rather than the usual room above a pub that I’m used to.

After sneaking downstairs quickly to get a pint of lovely Aspalls I got back up just in time as the lights went down and Michael Legge arrived on stage. He seemed a little nervous and pointed out he had a set list as well as his back up script. He got through most of his set before his time was up, though unfortunately there was no time for him to discuss “girl in a wheelchair”, which I imagine was the story he told in his blog about the rather rude iPod playing (without headphones) lady on a train. The story about Halloween in Northern Ireland with his deaf best friend were hilariously told as well as his admiration and childhood love and obsession for Sir Walter Raleigh and good manners. Although this is an embryonic work, Legge’s natural charm and charming natural swearing helped him through and I have no doubt that as the show progresses it will develop into a full performance that will be well worth seeing in Edinburgh (in 2011) or at the Camden Fringe later this year.

Andrew Collins came on next. I’ve seen his Secret Dancing twice before and it’s a great piece of comedy. Andrew doesn’t hide that fact that he is not a stand up comedian and this is part of the reason this works so well. He is a lot braver than most comedians as this part of his show is basically 4 minutes of mime / standing still, which for a non-comedian / actor is pretty brave stuff.

Andrew has 2 personas we know about: Richard Herring’s “woolly liberal” foil on the Collings & Herrin podcast, as well as the music-loving ex-NME journalist & 6 Music DJ (who reverses roles with Herring on the Saturday morning shows). Collins on stage has a slight swagger but this strangely adds to his likability.

He has been doing this set for a while now and is honing it in time for Edinburgh Festival. I was disappointed he didn’t tell the story about the time he walked next to a pigeon (those of you who haven’t heard the story won’t quite see why that is funny) but I’m sure that will come up on Monday’s show. I don’t think he will have any problem turning this into an hour long show for the festival; in fact Andrew could easily talk for as long as he likes on stage and people will happily listen.

Andrew asked for volunteers to Secret Dance with him and although earlier today I told myself that I was going to do it I chickened out and just one lovely man arrived on stage. He seemed to think there would be more, but no. Just him. But he was game and deserved the Collings & Herrin podcast CD that he was given. Which reminds me. I must order my copy soon. I have ordered Richard Herring’s “How not to grow up” from Amazon and while I was at it bought 3 of Andrew’s books too. Hopefully they should arrive tomorrow.

After the gig I had a chat with Michael and Andrew as well as Rob Heeney and James Hingley, and headed off on the long 10 minute walk home, secret dancing all the way. The evening was almost ruined however by finding out only my left earphone now work unless I hold my head at an unnatural angle. Anyway, if you are looking for a great night out that doesn’t cost a vast amount of cash there are 2 more shows to go: one tonight and one on 31st May. You have to go !

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