Canal Café Theatre is home to the excellent and well-loved NewsRevue, but not so many people know about their other comedy shows with a difference.
Founded by Professor Michael Hodd in 1979, NewsRevue is the longest running show in the Guiness Book of Records, packing out houses, four nights every week. So, what is the secret to its success? Is it the audience friendly cabaret setting, the weekly updating of material from their writers, or perhaps the multi-talented cast members? The current Artistic Director, Emma Taylor has the answers. They have a killer audition process which only the extremely gifted get through, requiring them to have many skills (singer, dancer, actor, comedians). The show is recast every 6 weeks to maximise finding and nurturing that top talent and when they do get through, it’s a great opportunity to be a part of something really successful. Emma explains that each cast has a sense of ownership. “I think everyone involved in NewsRevue feels as though they have a sense of belonging and that brings with it the levels of dedication and devotion which has made it a Guinness World Record Breaker.”
Whilst other shows at Canal Café are relatively new and often quietly understated, NewsRevue is broadcast on posters on the underground, is taken to Edinburgh festival where it sells out for the whole month performing to hundreds as oppose to the 60 capacity back home. They have even taken it to the West End where, Emma says, "it has sparked a new wave and level of interest as have our bookings for various internal gigs at the BBC”.
Housed above the Bridge House pub in Little Venice, Canal Café theatre it has one of the loveliest locations with stunning walks along the canal for the romantics. The distinctive pub downstairs with its warm atmosphere, is a great place for eating and drinking. Along with NewsRevue, the in-house productions include their American season of plays. They also have many visiting companies bringing comedy. Emma says “if you’ve booked it will be quality”. If you’re thinking of booking Emma has a few recommendations.
She has recently watched the first night of a new monthly residency they have with Ed Patrick, a doctor/comedian in Comedians’ Surgery. He invites two comedians to discuss certain ailments and medical conditions they have endured. “It’s a really fun, different show that the packed crowd really enjoyed and needless to say it attracted several members of the medical community”. She also highly recommends Just These, Please. “I saw them at The Vaults last week and they are super slick, often surreal, funny and very clever. I’m particularly looking forward to welcoming back Jonny & The Baptists in April, their way of presenting topical comedy is so different to NewsRevue and they have been described as the closest thing the fringe has to rock gods.”
Whatever you go to see, Canal Café is such a lovely space. The ambience of the room really lends itself to whatever you happen to be watching there. Strangely it has a chameleon like aspect to it where people look and feel relaxed and comfortable. Why is that? Emma has the answer to this too. “… maybe it’s because the colours are a bit womb like!”
CANAL CAFÉ THEATRE (@CanalCafe)
Above Bridge House Pub
Delamere Terrace, Little Venice, London W2 6ND www.canalcafetheatre.com
What’s coming up?
Check out Canal Café What’s On page here
Image below of comedy duo and 'rock gods' Jonny & The Baptists