A little piece of Edinburgh is coming to Colchester over the next few days as Colchester Fringe Theatre (presented by students of the institute) rubs shoulders with the returning Comedy Colchester Festival. There’s even a healthy dollop of live art, with #sherapy happening all week in a former routemaster bus outside of Colchester Arts Centre.
The fledgling Coljester festival is back with all the confidence of a terrible two year old, charging around the towns venues with no doubt the odd mishap along the way. Names like Arthur Smith (Colchester Arts Centre, 21 June), Rich Hall (Mercury Theatre,22 June), local Salford boy John Cooper Clarke (in a big top – that’s a venue, not his attire – Wed 25th June) and Essex and Red Dwarf legend Hattie Hayridge (Arts Centre 27th) top the bill. And if TV links are your thing the festival even meanders down memory lane in the company of Dad’s Army vicar Frank Williams
But as ever its what lies below the surface where the fun really starts. Theres a cracking line up of films – from John Otway’s fan funded (before crowd funding became all the rage) Otway the Movie to the glorious Mike Leigh classic Nuts in May.
All the films are, by the way, preceded by screenings of the intriguingly titled Civic Ceremonial The Telling of The Town Joke. After all we all know Colchester only has one joke, we just cant decide which one it is!
Theres a smattering of Edinburgh previews (where you can confidently state well I saw it when it wasn’t working) whilst Wivenhoe Funny Farm’s Colchester New Comedian of the Year not only promises, it will, unearth the rising stars of Colchester connected comedians.
One Essex connected comedian who wont be appearing at the festival is the manic and incredibly zany ex boxer Lee Evans. Instead he’s taking up residence in the O2, a quaint little venue just up the train line . In an attempt to recover from the horror that was Barking in Essex you can catch him at The O2 in September and October. . Not that he needs much recovery – Evans is now established as one of Britains best loved and biggest (certainly fastest selling) comedy stars with his trademark physicality and disarming charm.
Meanwhile the Colchester Comedy Festival runs from the 19th-29th June