Lots to laugh about as top comedy acts take to stageOctober 19, 2012 - 7:00am
If your idea of a fun night out extends to being served a shambolic meal by a manic hotel owner, his condescending wife, and a hopeless Spanish waiter intent on replicating a cult 1970s TV show then you are in for a treat when the biggest ever Bulmers Galway Comedy Festival takes place over six days next weekend.
The Galway festival has grown immensely from its humble origins in 2005 to become one of the most important dates on the European comedy circuit and the Faulty Towers Dining Experience is just one of the zany shows on offer which push the boundaries of what people know as stand-up comedy in 2012.
The show, which takes place over three nights at the Menlo Park Hotel, involves a three-course meal out in which anything that can go wrong does so. Punters actually pay good money for poor service, cold food, and to be the butt of incredible banter from three characters based on the hugely popular television show.
This show, presented by Interactive Theatre Australia, enjoyed a magnificent run of sell-out dates at the world-renowned Edinburgh Festival in August and is one of the treats on offer to Galway audiences who can enjoy more than 50 shows between Wednesday and Bank Holiday Monday, October 29.
With headlining acts such as Tommy Tiernan, Des Bishop, Reginald D. Hunger (US), Pat Shortt, Rich Hall, Ardal O’Hanlon of Fr Ted fame, Jason Byrne, Andrew Maxwell, Phil Jupitus, and the Rubberbandits, the festival is unrecognisable from the much more modest affair which began life with ten shows at three venues seven years ago.
Local acts include Danny Dowling and John Donnellan, while long-term Galway resident Tiernan is planning six shows at six different venues during what’s described as a Six and The City tour. All six shows are on the verge of selling-out.
The festival began life in Easter 2005, when there were complications relating to the ‘no drink on Good Friday’ legislation, but it has really grown in importance since switching to the October Bank Holiday weekend slot three years ago.
Festival organisers Gerry Mallon and Kevin Healy have both been involved in running comedy shows for 20 years and spent weeks tracking shows in venues throughout Britain and Ireland, as well as a month attending four shows a day in Edinburgh, before coming up with this year’s jam-packed programme.
Healy has been running the Wednesday night club at the Róisín Dubh pub in the city for eight years now while Mallon, who started Galway’s first ever comedy club, is the man who books the stand-up shows for the Electric Picnic festival each September.
“We have a lot of household names in the programme, but also people who are doing good work who we’d have seen in Edinburgh. People are going to have to trust us. From the quality of the stuff we have during the year with Kevin’s weekly club and the quality of last year’s festival, people know they are going to go and see a good show,” said Mallon this week.
“You want people to buy into the whole festival rather than just the individual shows. You do have to have a few marquee names there. I have to say, bringing comedians over, we do look after them and they want to come. We want to show them a good time and make sure everything goes well for them. They love to come back to Galway.”
For more, read this week's Connacht Tribune.