Keith Allen is angry,no surprise there you may assert,but this at least is being channelled productively,with the permission of Peter Cook’s widow, they are aiming to re-launch the Establishment and gain the lease of the original site on frith street,the club opened in the 60’s at the same time Cook was leading Private eye.The club would be the base from which the satire boom would grab the nations interest.
As the lights dim over the speaker a recording of Derek and Clive’s a day at the races was played those in the know will guffaw,those who do not check YouTube this set the tone nicely for the evening ahead.
A small jazz ensemble introduced Allen,compere for the night he came on thanking Peter Cook’s widow for allowing the establishment club to restart,Allen states that he feels the public no longer believes what they are being told by government and that what is really going on in the world is being kept from you, a few hear hears from the expensive seats ring out and a couple of claps indicate a conservative audience,I monitored the tension in the room from then on.
George Galloway was introduced to the audience and was invited by Keith to tell the first joke of the night, to commemorate the 1st joke at the new establishment,George is to have his name on a plaque to commemorate the occasion when they reopen at the old venue,He told a basic joke about a husband and wife’s marital problem,ironic given his latest comments recently,I’m sure I’d heard it before possibly on a re run of the comedians in the early 80’s
First up was Arnold Brown,a Scottish comedian,one of the main figures in the Alternative comedy scene in the 80’s I asserted he may have given George his joke,he has a slow meandering style relaxed observations with razor sharp punchlines he starts with ” I’m of the Jewish persuasion….I can’t remember who persuaded me” excellent
Next up Marianne Pashley a quiet observational comedienne but with a cruel hard streak there is menace in her eye,the one that isn’t looking at you but looking for you
A break in the line up sees Allen produce a table and chairs and its time for an interview with George Galloway (this Scotsman groans, I don’t think he’s that good an orator but a rotter he is)
So in this section Allen asks George to explain what happened with his recent rape comments he goes into detail about that and the Assange case announcing details he has read from court documents,police and witness statements that he believes Assange is being set up and to everyone’s incredulity the woman at the centre of the allegations is a c.i.a. Agent! I laughed,but who knows!he makes a compelling argument and I’m sure it will all come out but this section shows this night isn’t just about making punters pay to laugh but to think! its an antidote to the conveyor belt of panel shows where the same bunch appear with non challenging gags lining their pockets along the way a la jimmy carr!
After Phil Nicol’s unremarkable set Keith Allens new band he manages “the stripes” come on for a rock n roll set, they are only 15 years old on average but they are amazing musicians very good live they will have a long career.they were seen being congratulated and photographed in a corner of the club they must’ve loved every second.
After the interval a mime Artist came on,think Grayson perry meets piro meets lady gaga
The mime who’s name escapes me or was never credited came on to much confusion,danced to some electric dance music,mimed taking medication then lip synced from the 60’s recording of Judy Garlands “Judy monologues” it was a powerful act very well played by the mime by the end a standing ovation was an apology to the indifferent welcome.
Camp guitarist Dickie Bow came on with funny songs and interacted with an audience member
Other acts came Mark,Nelson,Ria Lena and her ukulele. Fillers in a comedic sarnie
The last act was a former Southend united goalkeeper in the 80’s Terry Alderton a surrealist comedian with huge energy expertly gets the bemused audience on his side,his fat friend John on piano added to the hilarity as did the old man in the front of the stage who started to strip terry of his jeans leaving him to continue in his boxers the ladies sat near me were in shocked hysterics as the old man took his top off and was ordered back stage by terry all of which was unplanned but hysterical.
All in all it was a great night and you got a sense of the spirit of the old establishment club I’m sure Peter cook would have approved,but he’d have fucked off before telling you.
Coroner rating: 5 stars