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A LAUGH A MINUTE D


Planning Dartmouth Comedy Festival MARCH 9TH TO 12TH


artmouth Comedy Festival celebrates its fifth birthday in March and it’s growing up fast, with acts and agents now contacting the Flavel


to ask to take part, such is its burgeoning reputation. That’s certainly put a smile on the face of Lisa Chandler, the Flavel’s marketing and programme manager, who, with artistic director Sarah Hackford, has the job of organising Dartmouth’s annual comedy showcase.


The pair devote a lot of time to research – hours spent in front of the television laughing. If it doesn’t make them laugh, it doesn’t get in the festival. And this year they are delighted that two of their favourite comedians are headlining – rising stand-up star Chris Addison, of Mock The Week and Have I Got News For You, and veteran comedian Arabella Weir, who famously asked on The Fast Show “Does my bum look big in this?” “If they make us laugh we want them in the festival, and we are really happy to have Chris Addison and Arabella Weir coming to Dartmouth this year – they are very different acts but both big names…and hilarious!” Lisa said.


Past successes include Russell Kane, Greg Davies and Michael McKintyre – huge names now but not so well known when they signed up to grace the Flavel stage in previous years.


“Sarah and I work well together organising this because we both want to achieve an eclectic mix of comic styles, and while we find similar things funny we also have different taste. I’m probably more naughty and basic – Sarah is more highbrow and intelligent (I probably shouldn’t say it - she’s posh!)” The pair have both become excellent talent spotters. Acts are booked up to a year in advance so it’s a gamble working out who will pull in the crowds. While Arabella Weir was already well known, Chris Addison was a fledgling TV performer when he signed up for the Dartmouth Comedy Festival. In 2010 he was everywhere. Impersonator Anil Desai was an unknown. Now he’s a big hit as the Stand Up Chameleon: “He’s amazing – his face is so mobile and animated, and he’s so quick.


His show promises more than 50 famous faces in 55 minutes.”


Left Lisa Right Sarah


Past successes include Russell Kane, Greg Davies and Michael McKintyre – huge names now but not so well known when they signed up to grace the Flavel stage in previous years. Lisa can’t suppress an anticipatory chuckle as she browses the programme for the forthcoming festival: “The Joy of Wine is going to be a really funny show – with the bonus of free wine! And Andrew Clover is very amusing. He has done a lot of acting and writes for the Sunday Times. By the time the audience leaves he promises we will know the seven rules of relationships. As for Boothby Graffoe, he is brilliant and has been to Dartmouth before. His is one of the best shows we’ve ever had here.” There are some changes to the festival format this year; slightly scaled down and further into Spring, giving everyone the chance to get a little more financially back on their feet after Christmas. Lisa said: “It was a conscious decision to reflect the economic climate. When we thought about the town and its population, it was clear that there are only so many people to go around. You can’t keep asking the same people to spend and spend. In the past we had conflicting events on the same night – too many things to choose from and people maybe felt they were missing out. This year we’ve put the Flavel back as the hub of the festival, with Café Alf Resco and The Royal Castle the only other venues. “Changing from February to March was another


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