Upfront Comedy with a French Twist

  • Star Rating: ****
  • Tricycle Theatre
  • London NW6
  • Sunday 8th October 2017

Oh la la. A new season of Upfront Comedy got off to bang with something of a French theme, merci beaucoup to Parisienne Arielle Souma and French sounding South Londoner Angie Le Mar performing at the Tricycle Theatre.

The show was superbly compered by Eddie Nestor who regaled the Kilburn audience with tales of getting old, or at least finding out that some people, perish the thought, see him as an older man! I loved the story of him almost getting into a fight over this and not with whom you might expect!

Eddie Nestor

These jokes were interspersed with hilarious stories about the joys and perils of fatherhood, mixed in with everyday realities of living in the capital city. It was an enjoyable the mix of the serious and moving, with the light hearted asides and unexpected punchlines peppering his set and keeping things moving along nicely.

From L-R Eddie Nestor, Angie Le Mar, Arielle Souma & Icy Jones


Kilburn lad Icy Jones is a relatively new, raw talent and what he lacked in stand out material he partly made up for with his confident, relaxed stage persona. Some of the jokes about living at home with mother were OK, not the best in genre, but unfortunately all too often his set was spoiled by a level of shocking profanity that was more brutally harsh than funny. Many experienced comedians can carry that off and it’s getting the accent, timing and context right that matters, or doing without it altogether that is the real skill to be worked on. Considering the audience was a more mature crowd it didn’t go down too well and it jarred slightly as otherwise he came across as a good, presentable guy. Icy Jones has potential and he’ll do well to focus more on creating good jokes than shocking people with his swearing and sometimes off key Caribbean accents. 

Arielle Souma got off to a wonderfully topical start with jokes about detention centres, passports and immigration, with a semi-political bent, joking that Brexit’s making it harder for her as a French woman. Arielle Souma is a one woman production line of wickedly saucy jokes. The audience were in hysterics re her, how can we put this, rather unusual and indelicate method of making lemonade to earn a living.

The jokes taking the mic out of British drinking habits such as “getting drunk before 7pm” hit the sweet spot for this audience. Much of her set was quite self-deprecating and worked all the better for this.  She’s clocked the Brits loves nothing better than seeing someone taking themselves down a peg or two! The only other time I’ve seen her was over 2 years ago and I recall writing that she’s definitely one to watch and on this performance she more than proved me right.

She clearly won Eddie over, who despite his initial couldn’t care less attitude to her being from France, “just be funny and make me laugh”, hilariously commented at the end of her set that “her ‘assets’ were as big as his mortgage!”

Angie Le Mar

It was great to see headliner Angie Le Mar and Eddie Nestor teasing one another about their age and longevity in the industry. As with most Stand Up Comedians, they focus on where they are in life and thus, like Eddie, much of Le Mar’s focus was on getting older and the fact she’s reached that age, that when it comes to form filling, equates to ticking the boxes higher up the age categories!

She too was concerned re parenting and life for youngsters in London today. Whilst some of it was quite familiar ground, including the beatings the older generation received “back in the day” versus restrictions upon parenting today, she made a serious point with great humour that there is something to be said for strict parental discipline that doesn’t cross that line into something else.

There was a nice topical gag re the latest Dove advert, although having watched it (see below) I’m not so sure they did cross the line with their latest advert that has caused a little bit of a stink in the last 48 hours resulting in Dove pulling their latest advert. I thought soap firms were meant to clean up a stink not create them! If anything its a rather dry, poor advert, but not really anything to, no pun intended, get all worked up into a lather over! Watch it for yourself and let us know. Though it’s in French, don’t be put off.  The images speak for themselves.

Le Mar referenced the fact it was Black History Month quite frequently and bemoaned the fast food culture and lack of Caribbean cooking old school style, lots of preparation, that seemed to be going on nowadays.

This is Upfront Comedy’s 25th year in business and the show was a fine example of what they’ve been doing since 1992, namely bringing to the stage overseas talent, brand new local talent and mixing it all up with seasoned pro’s. Long may that continue. C’est magnifique.

Review and photos © Tiemo Talk of the Town

Montage pictures courtesy of Countryman &  Leighsa

The next Upfront Comedy Show at Tricycle Theatre is on Sunday 5th November 2017 and stars Judi Love, Kevin J, Special P and Gabriel Ebulue.

Before that, Upfront Comedy are at Wolverhampton Lighthouse on 3rd November 2017 as part of the Funny Things Comedy Festival (23.10.17 to 05.11.17) and The Mac Theatre, Birmingham, on 4th November 2017


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