It’s no joke. Local parents and children are being offered free laughs at this summer’s Comedy Festival at the Bush Theatre.
The inaugural event – organised by Hammersmith & Fulham Council in partnership with the Bush and PBJ Management – sees a host of top names perform over the weekend of 1-4 June at the newly renovated venue in Uxbridge Road.
The good news for parents is that the event will also feature free comedy workshops and free performances for children and families. This includes a hilarious stand-up routine from the hotly tipped Fin Taylor fresh from his Edinburgh Fringe triumphs (ages 5-10), as well as the silly musings of Spencer Jones (ages 14+).
But perhaps the most exciting of all is the debut performance of Me & My Bee at the festival. It’s a rare blend of live music and a positive storyline – without the patronising nonsense associated with most children’s theatre.
“We’re aware that the audience will be mainly children. But we want to try to ignore that,” said Me & My Bee co-writer and performer Josie Dale-Jones. “Because if you have a good show young people should be just as engaged as older people.
“To us it’s a show for all ages to enjoy. Adults don’t have to bring the kids to have a laugh. But I think children are a neglected audience for comedy. The majority of shows are always so twee – and with comedy you can be more brutal or honest because it’s done in a funny way.”
As part of the Me & My Bee team, the 24-year-old Cambridge-born comedian has teamed up with fellow rib ticklers Greta Mitchell and Joe Boylan to put on an eco-friendly show with the clever strapline: ‘Climate change is massive. Bees aren’t.’
The idea is that it’s a political party disguised as a party party disguised as a show, Josie says. “So the audience will enter and be greeted by a celebration for the bees – and then slowly you realise that the performers are trying to put together a political party and rally the audience to try and save the bees. It’s about caring about the smaller things in life – literally! – and looking after the planet.
“And at the end we’ll give everyone in the audience seeds so they can go out and plant wildflowers. That’s the best thing you can do to help save the bees. We leave petitions to stop the use of harmful pesticides to the adults!”
But Josie also expressed a note of caution: “Children are our biggest and best critics. Because they are guaranteed to tell us straight away what they think!”
Me & My Bee buzzes into the Bush Theatre on 4 June at 1.30pm. Free entry. For more details, times and tickets for all of the Comedy Festival shows, visit the Bush Theatre website or call 020 8743 5050.
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