Reviewed by Helen Warner
We weren’t sure what to expect when we got tickets for The Big Portsmouth Comedy Festival, but we both love comedy so thought we would give it a try and we were very glad we did. We had tickets for the whole weekend (10-11 March 2018) but you could purchase tickets for one of the days if you wanted. We arrived and were greeted by a friendly and helpful team of people, and they explained how it worked. Basically, you get a wristband and you can go to the various rooms whenever you wanted to see the different comedians. This was a totally new way for us but we absolutely loved it!!
All the comedians were very different, and they were all good but if there is one that’s not for you, it means you can leave and go to a different room. In the evening the main headliner comedians were in the main auditorium. We had no problems finding seats at all despite the fantastic acts in the line-up. It was busier in the evening than in the day which is to be expected. The bar was not overcrowded and adequately staffed although we didn’t try it in the busiest time. There was around a two-hour break around dinner time which is great as you then don’t miss anything whilst you remedy your hunger. You could eat at the Guildhall and the food did look tasty and reasonably priced, however we went to one of the local pubs for a meal.
We did have some favourites. The noise next door was so unique, I’ve never seen an act that uses the audience in such a way and it means no two shows would be the same. They bounced off each other flawlessly that it’s hard to believe it’s spur of the moment but it is. Genius!
Zoe Lyons very refreshing, so accurate to so many which makes it super funny, she came across as down to earth.
Russell Kane was our absolute favourite. He has more energy than a Duracell bunny, nonstop hilarity. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much before, I actually felt sick. I got straight home and googled him to see if he has any other shows coming up. Lee Nelson is always great to watch, I’ve been to a show of his before, so I knew we were in for a treat and we were not disappointed! So many more were excellent and did a brilliant job entertaining everyone.
I loved that local up and coming comedians were given a platform and able to show their incredible talents. There are too many to mention but we didn’t see any we didn’t like.
Lastly James Anderson was a fantastic host, really warmed the audience up and was very funny. He even instigated a proposal in the audience!
We only have one complaint. We came away with sore belly’s from laughing so much!!
Thank you for a fantastic weekend and we will be back next year. We are telling all our family and friends and can’t wait to see who will be there next time.
For other shows at the Portsmouth Guildhall visit www.portsmouthguildhall.org.uk.
Portsmouth Guildhall, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, Hampshire PO1 2AB | 0844 847 2362