Charmian Hughes: When Comedy was Alternative (The Laughs and Loves of a She-Comic)
- Murray Robertson
- 9 August 2015
This article is from 2015
A stripped-back and delightful tale of alternative comedy’s heyday
Having been brought up in what she describes as a right-wing, middle-class family, Charmian Hughes always felt like an outsider. As a result, she rebelled and immersed herself in an adoptive fraternity of alternative comedians. Unperturbed by a sound failure from the start, Hughes dispenses with her microphone and launches into a meandering but passionate, stripped-back autobiographical show. Nostalgic for the days when alternative comedy represented a counter to successive Conservative governments, Hughes details her exploits in the 80s and 90s.
Picking out tales in vaguely chronological order, it's clear that Hughes has a wealth of stories from which to draw. She spent some time learning to be a clown, performed comedy at Glastonbury, and unsuccessfully attempted to seduce a number of her contemporaries, including the legendary Malcolm Hardee (although goodness knows why, considering her lurid recollections of the man).
Hughes is an endearingly scatty performer, frequently veering off-course before admonishing herself and getting back on topic. Her stories have a habit of wandering in search of punchlines that never come, but she has some delightful one-liners up her sleeve.
Banshee Labyrinth, 226 0000, until 30 Aug (not 17), 3.10pm, free.