So, you’ve planned your visit to Bath Comedy Festival well. If you’re from out of town, you’ve booked into one of our lovely hotels. You’ve obviously bought tickets for our opening night with Paul Merton and his Impro Chums in the glorious art deco Forum (comedy and architectural heritage in one go!) Now you’re scouring the glossy programme (picked up from our very own Polite Box next to Bath Spa station) for fun events, free events, ground breaking stand-up, immersive theatre experiences, buggy-friendly kids’ comedy and hilarious happenings. You’ve even taken the plunge and booked seats on the boozy bus that is the famous (nay, notorious) Wine Arts Trail.
Where’s the Buzz?
Never mind the bus you say, where’s the buzz? Call yourself a festival? Then I want to get festive!
Well, it’s all happening just over river, behind the station in the vibrant urban village neighbourhood of Widcombe…just yards from said Polite Box in fact. Here, celebrating their brand new traffic calming bypass you will find pavement cafes, gastro pubs, independent shops, a hidden beer garden and flapping festival flags galore. There’s even an Edinburgh Fringe style festival venue above the quaint hostelry that is the Ring O’Bells with a crammed four-day programme of new and established acts to suit all tastes, including Nick Doody, Kirsty Newton, Bilal Zafar and Lieven Scheire.
Jewel in the Festival Crown
However, the absolutely unmissable hub of all things Bath comedy is at the end of the street (just past the Co-op and up the hill a bit!) in the form of the brand new and rather fabulous Widcombe Social Club, fondly known by its fans as The Sosh, which has risen Phoenix-like, if not from the ashes but from a big hole that remained when its previous incarnation, dubbed Bath’s ugliest building, was demolished.
It’s a club in name only (though indeed still owned and run by its members) and extends a warm welcome to one and all. Inside you’ll find the comfortable Waterside Bar, open all day, with probably the cheapest prices in town. Relax on the orange sofas, mingle with the artistes, meet your friends, make new friends, feed the ducks from the balcony, or play a free game of pool, while taking in the panoramic views over the city.
Upstairs is the very impressive, fully equipped (and fully accessible) Wharf Room event space, with, yes, another well-stocked bar! Neither an art centre nor a traditional social club, it takes the best of both to create a truly unique ambience, unlike any other venue in the city. Admire its contemporary style, smell the fresh new paint…not every attraction in Bath is ancient!
Hosting Hand-Picked Comedy of the Highest Order
A staggering array of comedic performers awaits your delectation at The Sosh.
Thursday 6th April 2017 The Adventures of Andy Kershaw – An evening with the legendary broadcaster and foreign correspondent
Friday 7th April 2017 Friday Night Live with John Moloney – A master craftsman of intelligent and original stand up headlines a line-up of hand-picked comedians
Saturday 8th April 2017 Pip Utton: Playing Maggie – Edinburgh Fringe legend’s spellbinding portrayal of the Iron Lady
Saturday 8th April 2017 Mervyn Stutter: King of the Fringe – Another Fringe legend celebrating 31 years of irreverent funny chat and incisive comedy songs
Sunday 9th April 2017 Simon Evans: In The Money – Star of Live at the Apollo and Radio 4 Goes To Market
Friday 14th April 2017 Friday Night Live with Bob Mills – A showcase line-up of comedians headlined by the veteran comedian and broadcaster
Saturday 15th April Arthur Smith sings Leonard Cohen Two: The Extended Mix – Hilarious, joyous and life-affirming, Arthur and the Smithereens revisit their five star hit show to say a final farewell to Leonard
Sunday 16th April Jess Robinson: Impressive – Mimicry and cheeky with from the astoundingly talented impressionist and her new band. Unmissable
Kids' Comedy: The Search for Little Lord and Lady Laughalot
The best daytime entertainment for kids is at The Sosh. Buggy friendly, creative and extremely reasonably priced fun. Mum and dad can relax with a pot of tea or a skinny latte while the littlies have the time of their lives with the likes of Jimmy Mc’s Family Mad House, Wizzo the Wizard, Dinky Dino, The Funtime Silly Disco, Nutty Noah et al. Look out for the special yellow panels in the Comedy Festival programme.
Launched on Monday 10th April by none other than star of I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! Martin Roberts, the Kids’ Comedy Festival includes the Little Lord and Lady Laughalot Awards: who knows, your little darling could be Britain’s (or rather Widcombe’s) next potential comedy star! From small beginnings…
Guest Post by Nick Steel from Bath Comedy Festival