The evening was hosted by rasping Tina Turner Tea Lady, who shuffled across the stage and got the audience suitably stamping their feet (literally) in anticipation before each act, along with knocking out a few classics and tickling one-liners as she went along. She was an excellent host for the finals.
The event was headlined by Four Femmes on the Thames, who were not only wickedly funny but also sang beautifully as a quartet.
The show opened with comedy trio, Two Plus One, made up of Luke Sumner, Joshua Chana and Archie Henderson. The three rapped their way through the problems of a millennial handbook and bounced off each other with all the energy and delight of a witty bouncy castle. ‘Living at Home’ was a personal highlight and they were thoroughly deserving of the Best Newcomers award.
The finals were bursting with comic diversity. With quirky, factual rhymes from Rasputin’s Lunchbox, comic rock duo ShitStorM, and musical meddler Friz Frizzle (who has ruined Toy Story for me), each act brought a fresh take to musical comedy and no two acts were the same.
Once again Jamie D’Souza and Matt Hutson were brilliant, and even though I had heard their sets before, I was still in stitches. Hurt and Anderson tickled the audience with their acoustic Tinder horror stories and Katie Pritchard was great fun in her musical medley of vegetable drama.
Tom Taylor’s awkward, giggling set was the highlight of the evening and he left the audience in a constant state of hysteria. Although he crouched over his small keyboard and only made flitting moves of eye contact, his character and wit-filled the theatre with ease and kept the audience in the palm of his hand. Taylor was the only act to walk away with two awards, as runner-up to the crown and winner of the Audience Favourite Award.
The crown title was presented to Will Hislop who had competed as a finalist twice prior and who opened his by set sharing his mother’s lament that he was ‘always a bridesmaid and never a bride’. His set was witty, dry and musically bright. Hislop was charming and effortlessly funny and I couldn’t have been more excited to see him become the bride at last. The Musical Comedy Awards are a fantastic celebration of stand up and all the finalists were superb.