Saturday Night witnessed the return of Fulchfest, Rich Fulcher‘s self-proclaimed ‘music hall on meth’ comedy night.
As per usual, TVO were on hand to report back on the increasingly bizarre proceedings… and this is Velveteers Mog, Paulyne & Becky’s findings…
We’ve missed the patchwork quilt of chaos, silliness, oddness and frequent moments of genius that define Fulchfest. After a break of more than four months, it really was a pleasure to see Fulchfest return to its rightful spot at this great little Kentish Town pub. Like coming home to an old friend, the first show of 2011 thankfully brought us more of the same, via a first-class line-up.
The night started with ten minutes of mood muzak from the house band Sax Attackers, creating the perfect ambiance for Rich’s entrance which was, as expected, very loud – Fulcher booming his way onto the stage in what looked to be a bin-bag cape.
The night took a different turn to the norm, however (if anything can be considered normal at Fulchfest!), as we were introduced to the brand new Rich Fulcher Players – Alice Lowe and Steve Oram. The players really got the audience going throughout the night, providing their own take on current affairs and meshing the night together with a definition-defying drama. The storyline revolved around Bin-Laden, the Queen, Princess Di and a dramatic shoot-out. It was sufficiently nonsensical and laugh-out-loud funny so as to avoid being offensive. Until you have seen Rich’s energetic performance of American musical numbers for the leader of Kentish Town’s terror cell you haven’t really lived. Their work eventually culminated in everyone standing to sing the national anthem whilst party poppers and rice rained down as a late alternative celebration of the Royal Wedding. Only at Fulchfest…
Alongside all the madness, were the guests: including the unexpected delight of Pat Cahill – an energetic marriage of Mike Skinner and Frankie Boyle, who lit up the stage with razor sharp Brit-rap about the demise of his cancerous pet (‘Tumour Dog’) and his floral microphone stand, fashioned from a coat hanger. Cool, clever and wee-yourself funny in equal measures, Cahill is now high up on the list of comedians I have to see more of.
Also on the bill was Pete Hathaway. A pretty indie-gent adaptation of Derren Brown – without the creepy goatie – he combined a heart-warmingly charming stage presence with the ability to perfectly predict what colour underwear he should be wearing, based on a picture an audience member created while his back was turned. We’ve no idea how he did it, but he was a joy to watch all the same. His unique brand of comedy and magic which kept the crowd entranced and left them wanting more.
The ever reliable Simon Munnery was also on hand, his randomness and range was comparable to putting a haphazard yet brilliant bunch of comedians into a bag, then extracting a steady stream of their best jokes from it in no particular order. Daft, strange and hilarious, it the perfect finale to the night proper.
A too-brief set from Elvin and Lowe’s Hot Brew (we wanted more!) and Brett Domino’s dour Yorkshire rendition of ‘Boom! Shake The Room’ completed a stonkingly good night. Against this backdrop, the special secret guest (clue: he’s tall and he was a chef in Darkplace) felt a tad too traditional. His jokes were funny, but they were just that… jokes. Fulchfest is something else altogether.
As usual, the Bull & Gate’s stage was filled with energetic performances and there were laughs a plenty. With it all being a colourful blur of tumour dog songs, magician’s stripping and rice confetti, Rich and co succeeded in creating a truly stupendous night once again. Here’s to the next one!