Variety of Kings, Comedy - Review

Created by comedienne and MC Katie Pritchard, Variety of Kings is a regular comedy night at the Star of Kings pub, which is just up the road from where the Guardian newspaper headquarters is based in London.

No stranger to the comedy circuit herself, Pritchard – like the talented Bill Bailey– often incorporates playing musical instruments into her act, and on the night in question, treated the audience to a mash-up of hip-hop and opera, which was played on a mini-ukulele! The following is a brief summary of the rest of the acts that took part at Variety of Kings.

Harking back to the days of Music Hall, Josephy Murphy's 'Mr Spooky' is a vaudevillian character that tells stories, jokes and songs that have a macabre streak running through them. Certainly different from the surfeit of acts on the comedy circuits, I felt the routine would find a natural home in cabaret evenings (which London has an abundance of).

Original in her own way, Sonja Quita Doubleday's 'Cheekykita' persona has a surreal routine that's infused with more than a dash of Vincent Price's The Fly in its DNA. With a face that's second to none in expressiveness, Doubleday's use of physical comedy is confident and bold.

Mikey Bharj's set revolved around impersonating well-known Hollywood actors and putting them in incongruous situations (such as Arnold Schwarzengger rapping)! As a mimc, Bharj is first-rate and had me laughing throughout. With some longer, more thought-out material, he could be a household name.

Michael Stranney's comedy as his alter ego Daniel Duffy is of a more subtle variety, but that doesn't mean it's not distinctive. 'Duffy' shares traits with 'Shadwell' on BBC comedy sketch Naked Video, as well as Ardal O'Hanlon's 'Father Dougal' on classic sitcom Father Ted. One of life's outsiders who lives in his own inner reality, Duffy has his own distinctive of getting things across and enjoys wordplay. One of the evening's more nuanced performances.

Last, but most definitely not least, there was the headliner Bec Hill. I could have happily watched her for a two hour set, she was that good. Comedy like most things, is a matter of subjective taste, but I find the best stuff at its kernel is based on experiences and observations about the absurd things of life in general. Hill had this, plus skill and material by the bucketload and it comes as no surprise to me that in Edinburgh last year that her jokes from disparate reviewers were voted the best of the season. I'll certainly keep my eyes open for her gigs in the future.


Variety of Kings will return in the New Year.

Author's review: