Bill Bailey: a comic maestro of bits, bobs and barbs at the Tories

Thoughtifier, a new European tour, brings familiar whimsy from the Strictly Come Dancing champ. But does the mirth cramp his musical stylings?Forty years into his performing career, you know what you’re going to get with Bill Bailey. Musical noodling: …

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Hir review – Felicity Huffman wreaks havoc in Taylor Mac’s black comedy

Park theatre, LondonA rich and messy revival explores ideas of belonging, with the Desperate Housewives star playing a determinedly indifferent matriarchChaos reigns. Every inch of Paige’s home is a domestic dumping ground. This rich and messy revival …

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One Last Push review – Chris Chibnall’s family farce about birth and beyond

Salisbury PlayhouseA fitfully funny play from the creator of Broadchurch considers the terrifying prospects of parenthood yet never quite deliversHere’s a perfect prop for farce: a huge, baby-blue birthing pool, stubbornly resisting inflation, plonked …

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S6 E2: Michelle de Swarte, comedian

Model-turned-standup Michelle De Swarte knows how to make an entrance. And arriving at Grace’s with her eat-it-or-climb-it comfort snack of choice, she doesn’t disappoint. For the woman who left school at 14, signed as a model at 19, fell on the Gucci …

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‘We’re going back to silly’: what’s the next turn for British comedy in era of nostalgia?

It’s no joke for new shows as classic favourites live on while investment in sitcoms and sketches faltersThere is a quip beloved of comedians, when asked if their industry is going down the pan: “Nostalgia? It ain’t what it used to be.”But for fans of …

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Tim Key: ‘I like writing in the pub, but then the poems tend to be about the pub’

The comedian on his strangest fan encounter, preshow rituals and his new film with Tom Basden and Carey MulliganHow did you get into comedy?I joined a sketch group, went to the Edinburgh fringe, and then kept doing that for years. It’s a good place to …

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Leicester comedy festival – post-natal distress, a Trumpian dictator and Robo Bingo

Various venuesSets from Lily Phillips, President Obonjo and Foxdog Studios may not rival the Edinburgh fringe, but give a bracing sense of the diversity of the comedy sceneWe need a new kind of comedy, says character comic President Obonjo, “a comedy …

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Soho theatre apologises after comedian ‘abused Jewish audience member’

Paul Currie allegedly swore at and hounded out Israeli man who refused to applaud Palestinian flag The Soho theatre is investigating a complaint about a comedian who allegedly abused a Jewish audience member who refused to applaud a Palestinian flag.Th…

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Jessica Fostekew review – accelerated age triggers volcanic rage

Soho theatre, London New show Mettle finds the comic annoyed about flirting, litter, the climate crisis and more, following a milestone birthdayThere are few more familiar standup comedy attitudes than: I feel like I’m getting old. It’s the one Jessica…

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No sets, less fuss, a cast of one: can standups save the UK’s cash-strapped theatres?

For the Royal Court and Park theatres, putting on comedy acts is a moneyspinning way to find new audiences. But are playhouses set to stage fewer plays?Caryl Churchill. Sarah Kane. Chris Ramsey? Heads turned late last year when the Royal Court in Londo…

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