I've just installed the new 'no sorry' app, so I'm unable to send emails with the word 'sorry' in them. To be honest, it hasn't had the life-altering impact I was hoping for. It seems I'm much, much less apologetic than I thought. (Sorry). But if I were still in the position to apologise, I'd pop off an email to my delightful friend Tim* and say sorry for my behaviour last night.
We went to the Soho Theatre, which I think has the best comedy in town. Before I left, I had tea with my father, and raved about their consistently excellent line-ups. 'Oh yes,' dad said knowingly. ' I know that theatre well. The first public building in the world to be lit entirely by electricity'. Not to take anything away from the Soho Theatre, but I was pretty sure that wasn't at all true. My father then began humming a sort of dirge-like anthem, staring at me expectantly. 'Well?' he said finally, 'Do you not recognise it?' 'God save the queen?' I asked hesitantly. 'The Mikado!' he replied, twirling his hands into an imaginary moustache in a bid to turn this into the most confusing charade of all time. 'OK,' I said, wondering if I should call my little sister, and ask her if post-Christmas-itis was a thing. 'It's one of their most famous operas,' he continued, now glaring at me. (I assumed this was part of the charade, and ignored it entirely). 'Of the Soho Theatre?' I asked. Turns out, he thought we were talking about the Savoy.
The Soho Theatre, despite my father's understandable confusion, is actually a different theatre to the Savoy Theatre. It's on dean street, handily squashed between a cashpoint and the luminous, disarmingly large street sign of Quo Vadis, which as a child I assumed was a sex shop, but actually I think is a restaurant? Anyway, I have still never been taken there, so most likely it is in fact a front for sex. (Other places I have not been taken, and assume are secret dens of iniquity: Bob Bob Ricard and its infernal 'press for champagne' button, the Christmas choral service at Westminster Abbey and Kidzania. I know Kidzania sounds like it's for kids, but my little sister went on an 'adults-only' evening and won't stop banging on about it).
The Soho Theatre, however, unlike these other, less salubrious places, is entirely upfront about what it is offering: a mix of new and established, overseas and home-grown talent, who offer theatre and stand-up and cabaret. It's the type of place you can see David Baddiel and Michael McIntyre for a tenner, as they try out their new material. Or watch Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Newcomer winners Sofie Hagan and Alex Edelman just before they go on to sell out the 02. It's where the bar downstairs closes at 11pm, unless you've seen a show, in which case they'll happily serve you til 1am.
I went, with the aforementioned Tim, to see Anne Edmonds, over from Australia and fresh from being awarded the Comics Choice award at the Melbourne Comedy Festival. 'I don't want to sit at the front,' I hissed at Tim, as we walked in. 'I don't think there's audience participation,' he countered. I was more worried that I wouldn't be able to comfortably eat my family-sized bag of quavers, but nevertheless, acquiesced as graciously as ever. Later, Anne wondered during her set who had 'loudly yelled that they didn't want to sit in the front row', but I put that down to culture-shock. Everyone knows how shy and demure these Australians are.
Usually, there probably isn't a great deal of audience participation, and Edmonds seems very much like the type of woman to let another woman eat her crisps in peace, which might be my new litmus test for friendship, but both Edmonds and Tim had failed to take into account my FOMO. FOMO is interesting, because most sufferers go to too many parties, or compulsively check on their social network updates. I hold little truck with such newfangled FOMO. True, vintage FOMO is exactly the same as it was at school: the fear that there's a cool group, and you're not part of it. It is necessary, therefore, to insert oneself into every single social interaction. 'Do you have misogynists here?' Edmonds asked. 'We do!' I shouted gleefully, pointing at Tim, who was handily sitting next to me. 'Is that your husband?' Edmonds countered. 'Not anymore,' Tim replied. (In the spirit of full disclosure, and professional transparency, Tim is neither a misogynist nor my husband, in any tense).
Edmonds' show is excellent. It is funny and thoughtful and polished and well-worth seeing. It is so good, in fact, that I sent my father off to see it, despite his worried protestations that he 'wasn't sure he liked comedy'. I would tell you more about the show, which hilariously weaves together its themes and observations and societal quips, but we have now reached the very end of my review, and so, with only two words left, I will say, to both Tim and you all: Go see.
*This is 100% his real name. I thought about changing it, because privacy, but I recently read an article saying privacy is gone now and I don't want Tim to feel left out.Suggest a correction