Saturday, 28 May 2011

Boom Tish, BOOM Tish, BOOM TISH

So after my premature arrival in rainy Crouch End on Thursday, I finally made it to The Music Palace, a really unusual looking building that can be found just opposite the YMCA in Tottenham Lane.

I was there for the launch of BOOM TISH, the brand new variety night.  Sadly a couple of my friends had to cancel due to illness, so after dragging myself down from the heart of Suffolk and hanging around on my own for a couple of hours, it was refreshing to see the friendly face of one of the Boom Tish founders, Nick Dear, welcoming me at the door and a real pleasure to have a pre-show catch up with my lovely pal Abi Roberts who was compering the event.

I've been to many a comedy club, usually upstairs in a pub or in a basement of a bar, but The Music Palace immediately felt like a venue that stood out, not least because it was self-contained and styled with a decent amount of theatrical bling.

And on the subject of bling, I loved the distinctive Boom Tish logo that filled the backdrop of the stage. You can see part of the design just behind Abi, pictured right.

However what I hadn't expected was that the subliminal workings of those words in bold combined with Abi's cleverly rousing routine of audience participation would have left me still muttering the words Boom Tish, Boom Tish, Boom Tish, two days later whilst writing this blimmin' blog post.

Gawd help me...brainwashed into brand loyalty after one visit!  Surely that's a PR dream!

But of course a clever logo and Boom Tish chanting between acts isn't enough to create a following.  The event itself had to be good! 
And it WAS good....or what would be more appropriate for me to say is that it was an all-singing-all-dancing blinder of a night out, with heaps of original comedy talent thrown in.

As expected, Abi was a really fabulous compere and got the audience whooped up with her one-woman variety store of impressions, singing and comedy anecdotes between each of the different acts (here's a brief vid of her intro). She definitely launched the event in style, giving a great billing to each set, a real natural, who seemlessly linked the acts together.

The line-up was made up of the very funny resident Boom Tish band, plus five acts who were each competing to return for the 2011 finale in December!

And so the stage was set for an eclectic night comprising a comedy duo, a character comedienne, a magician, an ex-Holby City actor and a sketch trio, who between them delivered performances that featured a bizarrely entertaining conjoined twin skit, "Mrs Manning's" polite attempts at a few of old departed Bernard's jokes, a sprinkling of "how the heck did he do that" illusions and closing with a touch of harder hitting  "shock" comedy and a thoroughly mesmerising and cleverly performed sketch involving fonts...

....yes that's right FONTS!  You know.... like Helvetica, Jokerman and even Dingbats!

And the winners voted by the audience... the very entertaining trio  The Real MacGuffins, featuring Dan March, Jim Millard and Matt Sheahan, who I caught on camera whilst performing the FONT sketch.

They were well deserving winners but I reckon there was also close competition from the others, especially the very versatile comedy duo Checkley Bush (Laura Checkley and Victoria Bush),  the artists behind the twins skit.

But the biggest surprise for me, was most certainly witnessing actor Duncan Pow, (whom I'd last seen in character as Holby City's reliable, faith-driven Linden Cullen),  appearing on stage with a hard hitting Frankie Boyle-esque set full of shock comedy.  I must admit that what accompanied my reactionary groans to most of the jokes was an automatic  "Eeeeeek!", which made my facial expressions temporarily resemble those of an Aardman Animations model.

When Duncan joined our group later, I asked how he came from an acting role focused on a softer, (although admittedly complicated character) such as Linden Cullen, to a stand-up routine peppered with risque material, the likes of which would most likely have caused a fictional Linden to depart all red-faced or offer the guiding hand of his Christian faith.

In his Scottish accent, he told me that he'd wanted to try his hand at an opportunity that would stretch him into an area that was the extreme opposite to that of his acting role in Holby City. I think he had defnitely achieved that.  And during our chat, he didn't show any reflection of his former Holby character or even the guy I'd just seen on stage, which I guess gives full credit to his acting skills.

But before I end up debating with myself the extent to which a comedian's set is made up of natural personality and acting talent, I'll share the other great news of this first ever Boom Tish night...and that was that it helped raise £500 for the James Baldwin Trust, a charity which supports families of those suffering from T-Cell Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma and organisations that are researching a cure for the cancer.

The Patron of the Trust is actress Tamzin Outhwaite, pictured here with Abi Roberts, announcing the winning tickets for the raffle that helped raise the much needed funds that night.

This photo was taken seconds before I'd asked my Facebook friends to cross their fingers for a pink ticket, somewhere between 146-155.  And hey presto, the magic worked.  Pink 152 was drawn minutes later for one of the top bill prizes....2 VIP tickets to the filming of ITV's Celebrity Juice in October, which left me both excited and perplexed while my Facebook pals were busy having modern day online fisticuffs over who's going to accompany me.

So for just a tenner's entrance fee it was a real cracking night out, which wouldn't have been complete without Helen O'Brien's character Mrs Manning, who made me chuckle and magician Stephen Barry, whose "fiver in a kiwi" trick was met with a standing ovation for his magical malarkey.

I wish the founders Tom (aka Baz), Nick and  Jake every success indeed.  It was a top event, supported by a packed out audience, which I couldn't help but notice was brimming with folk from the media circles, including writers, actors and presenters.  It was definitely worth trekking down from Suffolk for and even though I won't be able to make every Boom Tish, I'll be back for a few more, including December's finale!

BOOM TISH has definitely made its mark on the London variety scene.  The event is held on the last Thursday of each month at The Music Palace, N8. For more information about reserving tickets or to register your act for a forthcoming heat please contact


  1. ...I only wish I'd been there!

    Thanks for that excellent account of whatsonnerie missus....

    Abi's, quite simply, the nuts!

    TS x x x

  2. We should make sure we get to another Smithy...and keep mean to see if you fancy going to see the fabulous abs up in Edinburgh x