27 August 2010

Armstrong & Miller trying things out for fun

A chance tweet from Ben Miller (@bennylicious) led me to Little Venice to see Armstrong & Miller try a few things out for their forthcoming tour.

The venue was the extremely cosy Canal Cafe Theatre, conveniently situated above the Bridge House pub where I was able to start the evening well with a Kolsch and two types of humus.

The "try out" nature of the evening soon became apparent as we were fortunate witnesses to an hour of new material, a reasonable proportion of which seemed to have been written that day.

At one point Armstrong apologised to Miller and their pianist for making changes to a song that they did not yet know about!

The set list shows some of the characters that they are working with.

We had four skits with the familiar pilots (still very funny and very well received) and new scenarios based on World of Warcraft (that's Avatar 1 - 5) and a 70s couple at the theatre (Theatre Safety 1 - 4).

Some of the sketches were a little rough but none were ropey and there were genuine laughs throughout. Armstrong & Miller, and their female colleague, played to the audience well and the intimate setting helped build the atmosphere too, I was about 2m away from the action.

We also got some material presumably not intended for the tour. Ben opening by saying that it was 17 years to the day since they first met and he then played the first song they wrote together. And they ended with a song about their relationship which included the line, "Let's all have sex, but in a non sexual way". We were encourage, not that that was hard, to sing along and thus what was sold as an opportunity to see two artists practising metamorphosed into a real show with two BAFTA winning professionals on top form.

Another exceptional night out that demonstrates some of what London has to offer if you look hard enough.

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