On Saturday we had a family outing with my 9 and 12 year old daughters to the Soho Theatre in Dean Street, off Charing Cross Road, for the monthly ‘Comedy Club 4 Kids’ afternoon. Despite spending several years at Art college on Charing Cross Road as a student in my PC (pre-children) years and knowing the area well, it was my first venture into the Soho Theatre, and the Comedy Club.
The Theatre Company bought the building, a former synagogue in 1997 with the aid of an 8m Lottery Grant awarded the previous year and moved in 3 years later after extensive building works. The building is a little gem, with a lovely cafe/bar serving snacks and drinks, several themed theatres on different levels and staff who both very friendly and helpful. It seems to be very popular based on our Saturday visit, and not only stages numerous plays and events but also holds workshops for both adults and children. Further details can be found on their website.
The Comedy Club 4 Kids’ sessions are compered by Tiernan Douieb (@TiernanDouieb), hard to describe, but very funny, quick on the spot and great with kids. The three comedians featured on our Saturday were Ben van der Velde, Shay Westlake and Nick Doody. First up was Ben van der Velde, who is an established stand-up comedian, performing annually at the Edinburgh Fringe as well as a busy tour schedule. My daughters absolutely loved him! He interacted really well with the children, teasing them just enough, and making fun of himself to put them at ease. His jokes about a boy in the front row with a giant bag of M&M’s were especially funny:) Next up was Shay Westlake, who was only 14 so did not have the experience of the others but was still quite a budding comedian. I liked his trick of asking an audience member a complicated question and gradually drowning their answer out with mundane music!
Finally Nick Doody came out and he was the girls favourite (can I say that?). He started by speaking in English, but every time he spoke into the microphone the words turned into French, which he claimed not to understand! After arguing with the sound technician they then turned into Spanish, followed by Japanese and Dutch! Eventually that was sorted out and he started his performance by telling everyone he was warned not to come as the sound crew were rubbish and that he hated children anyway! Although scheduled to last an hour, it was closer to 2.30pm when we left. Based of the girls enjoyment I know that we will be back, and my youngest is now interested in their comedy workshops.