Pierre Novellie

Not only was the new Comedy Club night at Oxford Playhouse the first live event there since March, but also a new programme offering featuring some of the most exciting and fresh comedic talent out there.

And God knows, we certainly all need a good laugh and break from reality right now.

Yet not having not stepped into a theatre, or barely been out since lockdown, I was slightly apprehensive about how it was going to pan out.

Thankfully the Oxford Playhouse had thought of everything to keep us protected on Saturday night. Safety measures included staggered entry, temperature checks and staff wearing masks and visors.

“I was soon laugh-crying almost uncontrollably, tears rolling down into my face mask”

Other new features such as one-way systems, socially distanced seating and pre-ordered drinks ready for collection on arrival made for a smooth transition into post-Covid theatre-going.

The new comedy line-up at Oxford Playhouse

In short, it was the perfect way to relax us, welcome us back and give us something to laugh about.

“This new normal felt fine and was actually more comfortable then being packed into seats next to strangers”

Our MC was Travis Jay, an actor/radio presenter and somewhat brazen stand-up comedian who hilariously overshared while introducing the other acts and doing a great warm up job.

Travis Jay

Next up was Luke Kempner who has many strings to his stand-up bow, by not only making us laugh, but singing to us as well as performing some astute impressions from the likes of Trump and Boris, to Love Island narrator Iain Stirling, and Ant and Dec. His swipe at Rishi Sunak got the whole room going.

The same can absolutely also be said for Pierre Novellie, co-host of the hit podcast BudPod with Phil Wang (see main pic).

Stealing the night for me with his relatable anecdotes about the perils of lockdown weight gain and I was soon laugh-crying almost uncontrollably, tears rolling down into my face mask! His dry wit and delivery caught me off guard and left me wanting more. 

Flo & Joan

The headliners for the evening were sisters Flo & Joan (Nicola and Rosie Dempsey). The multi award-winning musical comedy duo’s unpolished nature only adding to their charm.

“It’s great to be back Oxford Playhouse. We’ve so missed you”

Their comedy songs accompanied by piano and percussion, were sung at a nifty pace and numbers included an interactive tongue twister on the subject of crackers and a potentially divisive ditty about anti-vaxxers.  Great nonsensical fun nonetheless!

I had wondered if the atmosphere would feel a little flat, considering the comedians were performing in front of a half empty auditorium for our safety, but they all did a stellar job.

This new normal felt fine and was actually more comfortable then being packed into seats next to strangers.

Luke Kempner

With no interval the evening passed quickly, despite the show running a little over time. All of the acts expressed their gratitude at being back on stage in front of an audience. Thanks to the hard work of all the staff and volunteers at the Oxford Playhouse, it was a triumph. 

It’s great to be back, Playhouse. We’ve so missed you.

There’s more from the Comedy Club on October 17, as Jayde Adams, heads up the evening, joined on stage by Jacob Hawley, Ahir Shah and Tania Edwards as MC.

There is also a whole new season of events now on sale.

Go to https://www.oxfordplayhouse.com/whats-on/all-shows/comedy-club/13743 to book tickets or for more info.

Naomi Lanighan


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