Cube comedy and quiz nights

Karen Neville


Kate Lucas, Louise Atkinson and Howard Read are on the bill for comedy at the Cube at The Shed in Bordon in October

The Shed has a truly top selection lined up throughout October with the return of the Cube Comedy Club as well as quiz nights and markets.

The venue offers the perfect backdrop for evenings of belly laughs and fantastic community events.

The Cube Comedy 5th October at 8:00pm

This month’s comedy delights include Kate Lucas, Louise Atkinson and Howard Read.

Kate Lucas is an award-winning musical comedian and is known for her razor sharp and deliciously dark songs.

Louise Atkinson has quickly established herself on the comedy scene as one of the ones to watch for the future, and is said to have a strong flavour of Victoria Wood!

Howard Read is a comic, writer, animator and actor, in that order. He is best known for being one half (and the other half), of the Big Howard, Little Howard, the world’s first human cartoon double-act.

Tickets are £13.50 and can be bought on The Shed website.

Quiz nights at The Shed

On October 5th and 17th The Shed’s popular bar will be running quiz nights to test your brains every other Tuesday.

The Tap at The Shed’s quiz nights are only £1 entry per person with teams up to six. Winner takes the pot and there’s a chance to win a £25 bar voucher! Always a fun night out, just message Tap @ The Shed via their social media to book – Facebook.

Throughout October there are also the popular Saturday Markets on 14th and 28th, as well as a Halloween themed craft session with Daisy’s Craft room to try with the little ones, and of course top films at the Ticket Cinema.

You can find the full line-up of all upcoming Saturday Night at The Shed acts on the events page – Upcoming Events at The Shed.

Q&A with Fiona Allen on tour

Liz Nicholls


We chat to comedian & Smack The Pony star Fiona Allen who is on tour with her debut stand-up show On The Run, including stops at Guildford’s Electric Theatre on 28th September, plus Swindon, London & Maidenhead

Q. Hi Fiona. Seeing as your show is called On The Run, can you tell us about your impulse to get away from your hometown?

“I think I get my wanderlust from my mum and dad. My mum grew up in the time of Franco and left Spain as a young woman. She couldn’t speak English and was an au pair, then she became a nurse in the north of England where she met my dad (a psychiatric nurse). He then went on to work in Saudi Arabia when I was eight (interesting school holidays in Saudi…). Then the family home moved back to Spain, then back to the UK, so basically itchy feet are hardwired into me. I think I’m genetically predisposed to look at the horizon and think I wonder what’s over the hill. I was like that as a chid, and I simply haven’t changed.”

Q. How did you meet your husband & how has the whirlwind of family life affected ‘romance’?

“He was a location manager on the first series of Smack The Pony. We kept glancing at each other but trying to look like we weren’t. Then the director, who was getting slightly irritated, said ‘for God’s sake, talk to each other and go on a date’. One day I slipped filming a scene and missed the crash mat as it was the wrong way round. I banged my head, and he took me back to the base. It was then, when I was dazed, confused and slightly concussed that he asked me out for a drink! I could be flippant about the romance question, but I won’t be as one thing I really believe is that marriage is sometimes how you navigate the tough times together. Flowers, kind thoughts and actions are lovely, but nothing is more romantic than knowing that every day, no matter what, someone has always got your back. However he doesn’t tidy up and drives me bonkers.”

Q. What about meeting your father-in-law, Michael Parkingson?

“He was just a normal (very) Northern bloke who happened to be famous. Good to chat to as a journo and cut through stuff. He can ask a question. I can so answer it.”

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Star Q&A: Zoe Lyons

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Comedian Zoe Lyons shares her thoughts ahead of her Bald Ambition live comedy tour which visits Aldershot, Banbury, Farnham, Salisbury, Maidenhead & more

Q. How are you?
“Very well thanks. Life is a very pleasant mixture of work and fun so all is well in my world.”

Q. I read your funny quotes about a ‘midlife crisis’…
“Well I had an absolute cracker of a midlife crisis during the pandemic. I turned 50, hit the menopause and bought a sports car, among other things. It was a tricky time but because there was a backdrop of global chaos I managed to hide it quite well. But in this challenging time, there were also a lot of funny moments. And surely the best thing about being a comedian is we can turn personal difficulties into a new show! It’s cathartic to laugh in the face of adversities.”

Q. Who was your comedic inspiration growing up?
“It was always Billy Connolly as a kid. We’d get his videos at Christmas, watch as a family and howl laughing. I remember watching my mum, tears of laughter rolling down her cheeks.”

Q. Did you enjoy school?
“I was taught by nuns at my first school in Ireland. I’m afraid I wasn’t a big fan of school, I think largely because I didn’t like reading, especially aloud in class. I found it hard and I was always slightly embarrassed. We moved around quite a bit to and that made things difficult. I went to high school in Glasgow. There I found a love for geography and my teacher Mr Knowles made it so interesting and fun. I can’t look at a U-shaped valley even now without thinking…ahh glacial erosion. Funny what stays with you.”

Q. Loving your bold look… How are you coping with the alopecia?
“The alopecia was another symptom of my midlife blip. It was quite shocking to watch my hair all fall out over the course of the year. Pleased to say it has started to sprout back. I’m currently going through my dodgy growing-out phase… some patches, tufts and some longer bits. I need to get the tour done before it all grows back!”

Q. Who would be your dream dinner party guests?
“Grace Jones, Billy Connolly and David Sedaris… I think it will be a fun night and I know Grace will end up dancing on the table.”

Q. Do you have anything on your rider?
“I need to up my ‘diva’ game. I have such a basic rider; water and a mirror and I’ll be honest I don’t always use the mirror! I try and eat well on tour but sometimes a girl’s just got to have a burger on the road… and fries….and milkshake… and maybe another burger.”

Q. Who is your favourite author?
“George Orwell. When I finally started enjoying reading, Animal Farm changed everything for me.”

Q. What new year resolutions or perhaps cool things or goals do you have planned for this year..?
“I don’t do resolutions. But I do want to keep up my fitness. My goal is to run another sub-two hours half marathon and complete a 100k challenge in 17 hours. I want to carry on enjoying my work. And of course growing a luscious head of hair.”

To find tickets to Zoe’s show click here

Comedy and music at The Phoenix

Round & About


Laugh with Harry Baker, marvel at the wit of The Noise Next Door and shout a resounding yes to YES PLEASE

The Phoenix Theatre & Arts Centre has plenty to tempt you out in October with comedy – and we all need a laugh now – and the sounds of a prog rock giant.

World Poetry Slam Champion Harry Baker’s heart and humour has been watched by millions online and allowed him to perform all over the world, until suddenly he couldn’t. From reviewing toilet seats online to writing falafel-based diss tracks for Chris Evans, he’s back on stage where he belongs with his most heartfelt, playful, unashamedly Harry Baker-y show yet, in fact he is totally Unashamed!
Catch him in action on Thursday, 13th October.

The following night it’s the turn of The Noise Next Door: Hometown Heroes. The quickest wits in comedy are coming to town with a side-splitting evening of hilarious off-the-cuff songs, scenes and characters. The stars of ‘Tonight at the Palladium’ (ITV1) will spin comedy gold out of all the things that YOU, the live audience, think are the best, worst and downright weirdest things about your hometown.

The Noise Next Door are 13-time sell-out veterans of The Edinburgh Fringe and have appeared on ‘The One Show’ (BBC One), ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ (ITV1), and ‘Roast Battle’ (Comedy Central). They have also appeared alongside the likes of Michael McIntyre, Katherine Ryan, Romesh Ranganathan and Harry Hill.

The Phoenix Theatre & Arts Centre has plenty to tempt you out in October

Want some music? YES PLEASE you cry and luck for you YES PLEASE are up next on Saturday 15th. They are the UK’s leading tribute to YES, meticulously recreating the music of the Progressive-Rock giants. Their shows have received high praise from Yes fans and in 2019 they were honoured to be invited to perform at Roger Dean’s Exhibition of iconic Yes album artwork.

This year sees 50th anniversary celebrations of three ground-breaking albums which will be featured in the show including a complete performance of Close to the Edge.

Whether it’s hit singles like Owner of a Lonely Heart, Roundabout or Wonderous Stories, or an epic masterpiece, sit back and enjoy authentic sounds , full vocal harmonies and the rocky electricity of a vintage Yes performance!

Find out more

For more information or to book tickets for any of these shows go to

Home help

Round & About


Didcot’s own Matt Richardson tells Peter Anderson how much he’s looking forward to his show at the Cornerstone – not least because his mum always helps his home gig sell out!

Matt’s first tour at the tender age of 21 was called Hometown Hero, and now he brings his latest tour Imposter to his home town. With this tour, he’s celebrating a decade delighting audiences, both as a stand-up and as a link on many television shows. When I caught up with the lad from Didcot I found, among other things, his mother is still one of his best, and busiest fans.

“I love the show at The Cornerstone whenever I do it,” says Matt. “It’s full of familiar faces and it’s always a lovely sell-out! My mum basically does all the leg work and promotes it to everyone she knows, so it’s a very stress-free show for the promoter!”

What can the audiences look forward to?” It’s loads of new material, about growing up and settling down with some stories about my slightly unusual life on the fringes of the public eye, with one or two of my old routines thrown in from my previous shows as a slight celebration of my decade in the business!”

Feeling he is an imposter as an adult now 28, what’s Matt favourite age? “About 21 or 22. You’ve broken into the world and feel like everything is in front of you and anything is possible, but a lot of the reality hasn’t set in yet. And your parents are still happy to cover your rent once in a while.”

His career has included television work, does the stand-up experience stand him in good stead? “Yes, I really think it does. I’ve done a lot of shows that require dealing with members of the public, and I think years on stage talking to them really sets you up for that. Live TV is such a different beast to stand-up, but I’ve had to make up 10 minutes of a show after the autocue failed and there was nothing to prompt me. The one thing live TV and stand-up have in common are this – when it’s going badly time slows down to a crawl!”

Is there somewhere he would love to perform? “I’d be quite keen to gig in America. I’ve filmed there lots over the years, but I’d be really interested to see how my act goes down with their comedy club audiences. I’ve got a lot of routines I worry are far too UK centric, and I am planning on world domination (once I can sell out Didcot without my mum, of course).”

More info

Matt is performing on Saturday 15th February; visit the Cornerstone website for ticket information.

Max & Ivan

Round & About


Edinburgh Comedy Award-nominees Max & Ivan, as seen in BBC One’s W1A and heard on BBC Radio 4’s The Casebook of Max & Ivan bring their show Commitment to Reading tomorrow (6th February).

Peter Anderson caught up with the hilarious duo…

Q. How did you both discover your talents for comedy & improv?

Ivan: “ Max grew up listening to, watching and reading comedy from an early age – he always dreamed of becoming a performer and through dedication and devotion he got to where he is now.”

Max: “ As for Ivan, we’re both hoping he’ll discover his talents soon…”

Ivan: “ Fingers crossed! That’s one of my talents, incidentally.”

Q. You met while studying at Royal Holloway. Does that mean acting and comedy is to some extent at Plan B?

Max: “ We both studied theatre, so this is Plan A! The fact that we don’t have a Plan B is what worries our parents the most (and us to be honest….).”

Ivan: “ Getting a real job is Plan B! And I’ve no idea what the next letter of the alphabet is, so let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.”

Q. How well did you know each other before you came together at the radio station?

Ivan: “ When we met at an audition for a play (in the first week of university) we got talking about comedy and within a couple of weeks we started working together.”

Max: “ Our friendship and working partnership are one and the same and we look forward to it continuing (until the eventual day it falls apart in bitter, furious litigation).”

Q. Who are your inspirations?

Max: “ The League of Gentlemen, Brass Eye, Little Britain, Key & Peele, French & Saunders, Julia Davis.

Ivan: “ Max.”

Q. What can the audience at South Street expect from the show?

Max: “ If you come to see us at South Street you’ll witness the TRUE story of how I attempted to reform Ivan’s teenage band for one final gig on the night of his stag. It’s an incredible story that has to be seen to be believed, filled with an array of embarrassing photos and videos from our childhood.”

Ivan: “ It also made a number of publications’ Top 10 lists for best comedy shows of 2019 – so we can guarantee that it’s FUNNY! We won’t name those publications out of respect to the Round & About magazine, but feel free to Google – sorry, use a prominent search engine of your choice – if you don’t believe us.”

Q. I know Kieran has performed there before have either of you?

Ivan: “ We haven’t! However when we asked Kieran Hodgson (our director) what to expect, he said: ‘Reading South Street is one of my favourite venues, with a discerning clientele and access to a really good canalside Pizza Express for post-show nosh. You’re also under directorial orders to see the weird muscly lion statue during the afternoon. Break a leg! Kieran. X’

Max: “ His directorial brilliance knows no bounds!”

Q. How do you go about writing/creating the framework for the show?

Max: “ With our previous shows, it’s always been a torturous process involving far too many hours spent in a small room drinking lots of coffee and scribbling on hundreds of Post-it notes.”

Ivan: “ We thought that seeing as Commitment is based on a real story it’d be different this time round… but unfortunately not.”

Q. If you had free rein to pick another actor to join you, who would you pick?

Max: “ We have a running joke with James Acaster that he’ll one day appear halfway through our show as a neighbour, saying his catchphrase of ‘hello boys’ – it’d have to be fulfilling that weird dream I guess!”

Ivan: “ You never know – he might turn up in Reading!*”

Q. How do you relax away from acting?

Ivan: “ We write an eight-part geo-political comedy thriller podcast of course!”

Max: “ Why not give it a listen: it’s called Max & Ivan: Fugitives and it’s nothing like our live show…”

Q. I guess there is a lot of driving between gigs, what do you listen to; music, audio-books?

Max: “ John, our tour manager and driver extraordinaire** is actually a trained musical director, so we’ve actually spent most of our travelling time together learning three-part harmonies to songs…”

Ivan: “ We’re quite tempted to spend our final tour date performing some rousing folk songs instead of Commitment (although we’re not sure what the good people of Norwich would think of that).”


* he won’t.

**John’s driving is actually quite dangerous and when we’re not learning harmonies we’re reminding him how roundabouts work, or warning him that he’s about to crash into a parked car.

Windsor Fringe 2019

Round & About


Theatre, comedy, music, dance, family shows, a pop up record stall and music around a fire pit are among some of the many amazing attractions at this year’s Windsor Fringe. 

There are more than 130 performers and artists, showcasing local and national talent at the event from 20th September to 6th October, the second oldest fringe in the UK after Edinburgh. 

The launch party kicks off the festival with music from DJ Steve Nash and guests playing everything from reggae and jazz to funk and disco with drinks and food from street vendors to make it a great way to start. 

Among the many musical highlights of the festival are jazz singers Claire Martin and Ian Shaw with A Century of Song (21st); traditional music from Spain with The Maiden & The Thief (25th); The Magic of Motown (27th) and An Afternoon of Music & Colour brings R&B and funk on the 29th. 

There’s theatre in the form of The Red Balloon (21st) and a trip through Shakespeare in The battle of Love and Power (29th) before you go on Journey’s End on 1st and 2nd October. 

Join a Victorian Windsor walking tour, discover Queen Anne’s Windsor and enjoy some of the work put on display by more than 30 artists at open house events around the town.  

The family is well catered for entertainment to suit all ages from dance to an arts festival day and join The Last Puppet with an adventure aboard ship. 

The festival also features the 16th international Kenneth Branagh Award for new drama writing. The three finalists’ plays will be performed nightly on 3rd, 4th, and 5th October before a panel of judges chooses the overall winner – why not watch one a night at The Old Court and decide for yourself? 

Windsor Fringe

To find out more about all the events at Windsor Fringe and to book tickets

C’est la Vee

Round & About


Calm, cool, classy and award-winning comedian Sindhu Vee comes to Oxford’s North Wall Arts Centre this month with her latest show Sandhog.

It is said we chose our friends, but we are given our relatives, the exception being our spouse. Those ties are highly questionable at so many points once the bloom of new love is gone (sometime between 24 hours and 24 months after the wedding!).

Yet people stay married, and she is the generation fighting on two fronts being responsible for both children and aged parents! Stand by for some home truths on marriage, and the exhausting and complicated life of giving all generations the love you think they deserve. Peter Anderson caught up with Sindhu to find out about her, stand-up and her love for Oxford as she looks forward to an appearance at the North Wall Arts Centre.

Stand-up was not on Sindhu’s radar for a career choice, she worked in investment banking, had three children, a Danish husband, and a giant Labrador. Then it happened, as Sindhu explains “It hadn’t really entered my head. I have never seen stand up and then a friend persuaded me to go and listen to them at an “open-mike” night. I thought to myself, I think I could do that and so I did a course on stand-up comedy, and the rest is history.”

It seems though when it comes to inspirations there was a seed that was sown in her childhood in India “Looking back, when I younger and still living India in the 1970s, I was fixated on Carol Burnett, I loved the way she could be so silly. I checked recently with my mum and said Oh yes you were always watching that stupid lady”.

With her experience studying does Sindhu have a structured approach to writing her act. “There is certainly a structure in that when I get an idea, I will practice it at around five “open-mike” nights continually refining it. I don’t think I could allocate a time and certainly couldn’t work at a table in a café – I would just sit and eat cakes all the time!”
Sindhu is pleased to be appearing at the North Wall Arts Centre, Oxford was the first place in England she lived after she got a scholarship in India to study here. “Oxford has always been dear to my heart, since I first came to England and Oxford to study philosophy in 1992. I always felt it was the wider Oxford that welcomed me as well as my college and the university”

Sindhu Vee

Sandhog is at the North Wall Arts Centre on 19th September for tickets and more information…

Prophet Sharing

Round & About


Two great religions. Two great comedians. The descendants of Abraham may have gone their separate ways, but now stand-up comedian friends Ashley Blaker and Imran Yusuf are joining forces in the most-unlikely double-act since Kermit and Miss Piggy, the pair are travelling the UK uniting people of every faith and none for an evening of laughter and come to South Street Arts Centre this week. Peter Anderson caught up with the pair to chat about the show and their love of comedy.

With the current divisive nature of politics, it is nice to see comedy trying to bring unity, where did the idea for the show come from? Ashley replies “: I had thought for a while about doing something like this and then Imran came to see my Edinburgh show and really enjoyed it so I thought it would be worth asking him”. Imran agrees;” The show was Ashley’s idea I went to see him in Edinburgh last year and afterwards we got talking and he pitched this format.”

Speaking of the format, what can audiences look forward to? “Authentic experiences of two people from religious backgrounds who actually know what they are talking about.” Imran explains, whilst Ashley entices us “We perform separately and then do half an hour together. Thereafter I don’t want to give too much away.” He smiles.

Would there be the possibility of a sequel, together or perhaps with comedians of other faiths following your splendid lead? Imran replies “I hope this inspires other comics to explore something similar. Ashley and I are both quite well read into our faiths with some hardcore experiences, I hope to see more of something like this rather than the pedestrian narratives that are well worn out now.

I’m already working on another solo show and have vowed to read every major religious book over the next few years to help understand the multiple world views we are all so devoted to.” While it seems, Ashley has a partner lined up for 2020! “I have asked Tom Cruise if he’d like to do a show with me – orthodox Jew and Scientologist. Not sure how funny he is but I thought he would probably shift a lot of seats.”

You are coming to Reading, is this somewhere you have happy memories of? Ashley replies “Yes I’ve performed my last two solo shows in Reading, so I am very much looking forward to coming back.” Imran has also performed here “Yes, I’ve performed in Reading a few times before. At the Uni and for two previous solo shows”.

For your chance to see them together, they are at South Street Arts Centre on 4th June.

  For information go to Reading Arts.

Child’s play: comedy with Sam Avery

Round & About


Sam Avery will tackle parenthood at Aldershot’s West End Centre on Thursday, 28th February. Peter Anderson quizzes him on how he devised the show.

Parenthood is a crafty beast. The second you master something, it changes the game, so you are rubbish at it again. So says stand-up comedian, viral blogger and best-selling author Sam Avery (aka The Learner Parent) and he brings his tales of twin toddler tantrums, and the sleep-deprived route from first-time parenthood that got him there, to Aldershot this month.

As to how Sam discovered his love for comedy, we have to go back to his own childhood and of course the paper round. “I always liked comedy and making people laugh as a child. When others were doing their paper round listening to the pop songs of the day, I was listening to comedians like Ben Elton.

“I was shy when I first started, I was 25, the first gig was rough, then the next two were good, I thought I was getting the idea then I bombed again.

“Afterwards, one of the more experienced comedians came up and said – don’t worry it’ll probably take you five years to get the hang of it”.

So, who was his inspiration? “My family definitely, all of them are funny. But then probably Richard Pryor; I saved up about £90 I think for a CD box set of his career, from when he was starting out very much in the Bill Cosby mould to when he had created an identity of his own.”

What can audiences expect from Sam’s show? He tells me it was a kind of pseudo-sequel to the book, covering the twins so far. It’s an old chestnut but I wondered if he had struggled to tell them apart? Initially he had been saved the embarrassment, as he tells me…

“When they were born it was actually easy because one of them had to have an operation so had pipes and then a scar. Now they are three years old and most of the time I can get it right, but if I get it wrong, they happily correct me.”

Was writing the blog something that helped him through the lows of that first stint of parenthood?

“I really did find it useful because through doing it not only was I able to pick up good advice, but it helped me realise I wasn’t the only person going through these things.

“Perhaps what was the nicest thing was that some people rather than giving advice were getting the same strength and support that I got, and they said it was really useful for them.”

  For your chance to hear Sam’s tales of bringing up the twins, he is at the West End Centre on Thursday, 28th February. For details visit www.hampshire