For the past few years of listening to comedy podcasts I have heard tell of a mysterious event. Every now and then, podcasts such as Stuart Goldsmith’s Comedian’s Comedian and anarchic sketch group Pappy’s Flatshare Slamdown have released episodes from what has been referred to as ‘the secret welsh festival’ or ‘the unpronounceable comedy festival’.
Machynlleth Comedy Festival (or to save time ‘Mach’ pronounced like the coat) is set in an idyllic Welsh town on the edge of Snowdonia National Park, where comedy fans camp in local fields and see a variety of performers at a host of intimate local venues. This year a couple of friends and I decided would go and see for ourselves what its all about. We’ve got tickets to go the festival this weekend and we’ve carefully selected the acts to see – so here’s a run-down of some of my favourites.
Nick Helm’s frantic yet tender on stage persona of a heartbroken wannabe superstar has evolved gradually over the years, and is now starting to be appreciated by many as he makes regular TV appearances on 8 out of 10 Cats does Countdown and has his own BBC sitcom, Uncle. His live performances however have a reputation for being outrageous, unpredictable and shambolic, and as the Machynlleth programme states he ‘has no idea’ what his live set will be, which I’m sure means we can expect much of the same.
John Shuttleworth has been performing his self penned songs about pigeons, switching from mains to dessert and his Y-reg Austin Ambassador for so many years now that his creator Graham Fellows says he now doesn’t have to put any make-up on when preparing to play him, as he’ finally the same age as the character. This year at Mach he will be performing a set of hit’s which I’m extremely excited about because as a long time fan of his BBC Radio 4 show I cannot wait to see them performed in the flesh.
Pappy’s Flatshare Slamdown
The Midlands sketch trio have found a panel show format that only they could make work – a show in which they, with two different guests each week must compete to avoid performing a household chore. Regular rounds include the ‘Flat Games’ (formerly ‘Flat Olympics’ before they received a complaint from Sebastian Coe around the time of the 2012 Games) ‘Beef Brothers’ in which Tom from Pappy’s plays his John Grisham defense lawyer character with bewildering commitment, and the show’s quickfire round, which due to Tom and Ben’s epic weekly jingles always ends up anything but.
This year’s festival runs from Friday 28th – Sunday 30th April
All images and information from:
http://www.machcomedyfest.co.uk (2017). Festival Programme. [online] Available at: http://machcomedyfest.co.uk/sites/default/files/Programme%201-14.pdf [Accessed 25 Apr. 2017].