This November, Cultural Services pointed Wicid to a gem of avenue. We, of course, knew that Treorchy’s Park and Dare Theatre – much likeAberdare’s Coliseum and Pontypridd’s Muni Arts Centre – is a popular buildingthat showcases everything from performing arts to music and photography. Butwhat makes this gem of a venue shine ever brighter is The Laughter Lounge.
We visited Park and Dare’s Laughter Lounge for the last everperformance of ‘Pappy’s Everlasting Tour‘ a stand-up act written and performedby Ben Clark, Tom Parry and Matthew Crosby, three friends who met at theUniversity of Kent, before they moved to London in 2004 and started performingregular shows in The Old Coffee House, Soho. These shows would always involvesketches from their previous shows and also a few new ones – and they bringthis combination of old and new to every show they now play..
The venue made it all the more intimate and relaxed whileits relatively small size meant the energy and enthusiasm and laughter from thecrowd bounced off every wall.
The two-hour set was as jam-packed as you could hope whileseeming so easy. The sketches ranged from ‘Cauldron’ with the three ‘Witches’brewing a potion: “Eye of newt and tongue of toad,” “With a sprig of Mint,”“Wait, what?” The team begin to stir again, “Dragon’s Liver and Poison Ivy,”“Touch of ginger,” “WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?” The laughs roared out. The short,snappy and witty sketches had the same reaction throughout the set.
Another favourite was the “Computer HACKA” where two of thethree took on the classic New Zealand rugby team’s Haka with slightlydifferent lyrics “Double-click, double-click, SPACEBAR!” It had everyone cryingwith laughter.
Dinosaur was a moving sketch featuring Dean the Dinosaurwhose arms were too short for him to play tennis with his friends – Dean mustclearly be a crowd favourite as he re-appears frequently throughout the show.
The second half took a different turn when the trio imaginedthemselves older and looking back on their memories.
The main focal point – which was also the last sketch of theshow – was one of the troupe clad in ‘old man’ attire, stood on stage trying toremember the reason why Pappy’s broke up. Various scenarios were played out bythe trio including one of them thinking he was too famous to carry onperforming with Pappy’s and would be better off solo, one of them gettingmarried and a combined effort that broke a gadget from the future.
Even though this sketch had sadness scatteredthroughout, it still had a lot of laughs, with the (unintended) feature of a memberof the audience’s full pint glass spilling all over him as a result of one ofthe comedy act getting (arguably) too excited and kicking a toy bird at theaudience. It could have been embarrassing. It wasn’t. And the member of theaudience took it in his stride and fooled around with Pappy’s as if he wasanother member. (Was he?)
The ultimate finale of the show was the member of Pappy’s who wasdressed as an old man, stood on the stage, alone, with the lights dimmed andwith him muttering reminiscent thoughts about his past and talking to the othermembers of Pappy’s about old, good times. It soon comes to light that he’ssuffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s as another member of the comedy actwalks up to him, dressed as if he’s a member of the audience and says: ‘Dad?Dad? Who’re you talking to? Your friends aren’t here anymore. You know that’
This final act gave an emotional feel to the whole show, asif it was, indeed their final performance. The laughs were there, the feelingof sentiment was clear and the attributes of this comedy act were underlined inbold by their performance throughout.
If you haven’t seen a Pappy’s show yet, do it as soon as youcan. You definitely won’t be left asking for a refund and it’ll bring a smileto even the most grimmest of days.
Photo Credit: idilsukan
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