Review: Stitch (Matthews Yard)

By - Tuesday 2nd July, 2013

A stand-up and sketch comedy night at Croydon’s most battleship-grey venue proves a delightful and entertaining hit

Matthews Yard
Time from East Croydon  10 mins

Making Faces, including Stitch host Ed Mayhew (right)

Ed Mayhew is a charming fellow. This is a good trait for a compere to have, and he proved capable of flexing it to good effect throughout the evening. His material contained a few of the slightly unclear jokes that attendees to a new writing night expect, but he also knew how and when to drop in some real ribticklers.

He’s also one third of Making Faces, the sketch group whose efforts brought the night together. They’re off to the Edinburgh Fringe this summer, where their kooky, somewhat madcap and – delightfully – ad libbed sketches are sure to go down a treat. They don’t break much new ground – though, having said that, make sure you pay attention during what at first seems to be a banal sketch about cat food – but their delivery is sharp, their interplay engaging, and they’re definitely worth a look this August.

Also flexing their sketch muscles was The Pin, made up of a couple of former Footlights. Alexander Owen and Ben Ashenden made their mark on the evening through the excellent characters (personas, if you like) they have crafted for themselves. Never actually starting their promised ‘sketch show’, they instead dragged out their ‘intro’ by embarking on a series of tasks and conversations that drew from the best British traditions of straight man humour. Owen and Ashenden’s interplay was frankly superb, taking old conventions of double acts and adding a fiercely intelligent and breathtakingly witty spin. They’ll also be taking on the Edinburgh Fringe this year, and if the snapshot they gave us is anything to go by, you’d be wise to book your tickets now.

The Pin: Alexander Owen and Ben Ashenden

Caroline Hardie had a slightly awkward stage presence (in the best possible way) and used it to create a painfully funny fifteen minute set. Her brutal honesty about haircare, modern femininity and how nervous she was about doing new material won over the audience (including, crucially, my mum) with ease. One to watch.

From the moment Tim Vine emerged on stage carrying a wall-mounted map he had stolen from the Matthews Yard workspace, any fears of a recycled performance of old jokes disappeared. Beginning his act by proving he had a joke about (almost) every country on the planet, he proved a worthy headliner and had us in stitches (you knew that pun was coming, don’t pretend you didn’t) for forty minutes. Kudos to Mayhew and co. for successfully booking him at short notice (the original headliner dropped out) – he was an impressive catch and he absolutely proved why.

June’s Stitch was a very well-booked, reasonably priced, and hugely entertaining evening. Ed Mayhew and the rest of Making Faces are more than welcome to make me guffaw again some time soon.

Tom Black

Tom Black

Tom is the Citizen's General Manager, and spent his whole life in Croydon until moving to Balham in 2017. He also writes plays that are occasionally performed and books that are occasionally enjoyed. He's been a Labour Party member since 2007, and in his spare time runs an online publishing house for alternate history books, Sea Lion Press. He is fluent in Danish, but speaks no useful languages. Views personal, not representative of editorial policy.

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  • Susan Oliver

    Love the drawing!