On Saturday 1st March, a small contingent of Cranleigh boys and girls set off with me for the Cranleigh Arts Centre to take in a performance by stand-up comedian Hal Cruttenden. The Arts Centre is a great venue for comedy – apart from being on our very doorstep, it has an intimate feel, and raked seating which allows a view over even the tallest person sitting in front of you – and we were afforded a truly excellent evening’s entertainment.
Cruttenden has been performing for some years now, winning the prestigious Perrier Award at the Edinburgh festival in 2002, but is a relative newcomer to the celebrity comedy circuit. Nevertheless he has of late gained a great deal of popularity, with regular appearances on TV shows such as Mock the Week and Live at the Apollo, as well as Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow and the Royal Variety show. He is unashamedly well-spoken and, while married – his fiery Northern Irish wife being a much-mined source of material – with children, he very much plays up his camp persona. His 2014 tour is entitled ‘Tough Luvvie’, a nod to his early career in acting and three failed attempts to secure roles on The Bill…
With a wide range of different subjects covered – politics, Russia and Facebook as well as his own life and family – it was a hilarious and highly engaging performance. He is an excellent raconteur, and really put the audience at their ease as well as making us laugh. LVI boys Tim Ayling and Sam Holyoak also had five minutes of fame when picked on halfway through the show!
It was a splendid evening, its good cheer particularly welcome in the still cold and dreary part of the year, and everybody emerged from the show quoting the best bits at each other. With any luck we will be off on another jaunt to see Miles Jupp at the Yvonne Arnaud on Monday 2nd June – watch this space.