The Sham Bodie stage

Sham Bodie 35 @ Soup Kitchen

We’ve been looking forward to this one. This is Sham Bodie, one of the best nights in Manchester and tonight’s bill is a cracker.

The Northern Quarter’s Soup Kitchen is probably better known for eclectic music, vegan Sunday roasts and the sort of club night that the doormen would tell us is ‘not really your scene’, but tonight is all about comedy.

You always get plenty for your fiver entry fee here. In addition to three funny comedians, we’ll enjoy a musician, a bit of audience participation and hot dogs at half time. Even before anyone has hit the stage, we’re treated to a quite surreal video featuring MC and co-founder Ben Tonge.

This is Sham Bodie in a nutshell. It’s a night crafted with love and they pack plenty into their shows. So, who’s up first?

It’s Jayne Edwards, who brings her curious bodybuilder character to the stage. It’s an act that revels in its own self-aware awkwardness and it’s worth getting on board with. There’s a short story in here that’s a brave move, in as much as it has to hook its audience in early or risk losing them for a sizeable section of the set. Fortunately, it’s utterly barmy in the nicest way.

We love a bit of physical comedy, so when she caps it off with a clever dance routine that goes down superbly, we’re more than happy.

Jo Dudderidge is our music act for the evening. We’re not going to pretend we’re as nerdy about tunes as we are about laughs. We’ll just say that he has a guitar and a keyboard our favourite song from his set is called ‘Last Night I Dreamt of Killing You’, which is great and not nearly as alarming as its title suggests.

Back in our comfort zone, the second half of the show features two of our favourite acts from last year. The first is Ad ‘Dougie’ Douglas, who’s on brilliantly bizarre form. His organised chaos means you never quite know what he’ll do next, which makes it impossible to take your eyes off him.  

It’s great fun watching people who’ve never seen him before decide what to make of it all. Our minds are certainly made up.

Then there’s Simon Lomas, who we really can’t recommend strongly enough. In our humble little view, he’s easily one of the best one-liner comedians this city has to offer. The jokes are spot-on and it’s his nerveless use of silence that we love. He’s happy to leave us hanging for a punchline and it’s always worth the wait.

There’s meant to be a game next, but it all gets a bit rushed towards to the end, as apparently there’s some sort of club night on. In the end, two audience members stand on stage and pretend to shoot each other with water pistols in an effort to win a fancy dress costume. It’s a shame that time defeated this as a spectacle, because it sounded fun.

The ravers of Manchester will have to work a lot harder if they want to take the gloss off a Sham Bodie night though. We had high expectations. They were comfortably met.

Sham Bodie will be back at Soup Kitchen on April 13th and will feature the fantastic Gein’s Family Giftshop, Top Joe, The Not So Late Show With Ross & Josh and music from Proto Idiot. Keep an eye on their website for tickets and such.

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