Posted by Mark Withall: 2010-02-23

Last Monday (15th February 2010) I, and my trusty sidekick, attended the opening night of the Proteus show at the Leicester Comedy Festival. The show consisted of a number of short plays of varying styles [full disclosure: one was written and directed by my wife].

The overall standard of both writing and acting was surprisingly high for an amateur student production. In addition to the quality of the plays, several other aspects of the evening made it entertaining.

Firstly, the venue, The Crumbing Cookie (an establishment that, I assume, sells a variety of biscuit-like comestibles during the day), was incredibly small. So small, in fact, that our vantage point on the front row was effectively on the stage, allowing physical contact with the actors during various particularly vigorous scenes.

The second entertainment was the artificial addition of several constraints on my sidekick’s and my style of laughing (one for each play). Laughing styles included: laughing at as low a pitch as possible, only laughing through the nose, and laughing inwardly. These added to the, already considerable, humour of the evening; and disturbed several other members of the audience too.

The plays themselves were generally quite surreal. The final lines of the wife’s play nearly gave the sidekick a hernia. I particularly enjoyed the musical plays and the play involving a tryout for St. Peter’s stand-in at the gates to heaven.

Overall, far better than spending the evening in front of the television (unless House is on).