Horse Passports at Extra Topping

“Wow, so we’ve both changed our names since we last performed together.”

Not quite, Selena Mersey, fabulous musical comedian and stage name of the lovely Hel MacCormack.

What had actually happened was: on Friday evening myself, Paul Creasy and Nadine Bailey made our debut performance as Horse Passports, a sketch comedy trio from the Next Level Sketch stable, at Simon Topping’s comedy showcase above a pub in Hove.

Horse Passports.

Next Level Sketch still abides, but it was a lovely thing to perform as a trio.

I was offered the spot by Simon Topping, a man who I had not met IRL before and so could quite easily have been a murderer, posing as a comedy promoter in order to lure unsuspecting performers to their grisly deaths.

Instead, he turned out to be a lovely man with the excellent idea of having a night dedicated to everything APART FROM stand-up.

So as well as us doing sketch there was improv from the Tea and Toast, extremely filthy songs and brilliant asides from the aforementioned Selena, and fun and inclusive hosting from Mr Topping himself, who showed enjoyable confident and stage presence in how he allowed his initial gambit (as Henry VIII!) the time to breathe.

We were on last, which obviously I’m going to describe as headlining, and I think it went well. We were under-rehearsed – by which I mean, we hadn’t rehearsed – and to help break up the show I’d put together some very silly pre-recorded messages that Paul hadn’t even heard before arriving off the train from London.

We did two sketches written by each of us. From where I was standing Jesus is a Pirate and Forest Trickster got the best receptions, but the recorded intro to New Car I think helped people understand what was going on more quickly (as did Nadine’s “be more of a west London geezer” direction).

Also! I really enjoyed getting to be in my Ken Loach sketch and being specifically the kind of professional contrarian that I write to the BBC to complain about in Paul’s Newsnight sketch.

The night finished at the MJ Hibbett-style reassuring time of 9:30. After this we retired downstairs to discuss double fisting with Selena and her friend Fi, dog sitting with Simon, and how train timetables created the concept of standardised time with Tea and Toast, one of whom owns more ukuleles than me.

It was all splendidly, uncomplicatedly, joyously fun.

A special mention too for my lovely new Brighton friend Ros; it was really kind of her to come along and support us, and I thoroughly enjoyed talking to her and her friend afterwards.

Horse Passports will return.

Photo: Simon Topping.

Published by jamesofwalsh

My past blogs haunt the internet like ghost ships on a digital sea.

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