Football and quarter-life crises at the Hen and Chickens Theatre

Jim and Dave Have Lost The Dressing Room

Jim and Dave Have Lost The Dressing Room - Credit: Archant

Jim and Dave Have Lost The Dressing Room and Botheration are just two of the shows at the Hen and Chickens Theatre in Islington during Camden Fringe

A pilgrimage is about to take place.

Comedians, actors and A Capella hip hop Shakespeare fusion groups from all over the country are packing up and heading up north for the festival of all arts festivals: Edinburgh Fringe.

For those of us left behind in London who might incline towards gloom in the wake of the departure of cultural stimulation there is a solution.

The Camden Fringe, which this year has more than 900 performances across London, has expanded into Islington.

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The Hen and Chickens Theatre Bar on St Pauls Road has taken on the role of standard bearer for the area.

“In the past August was quite a hard month for fringe theatres because people were on holiday and going off to Edinburgh,” says Mark Lyminster, the Hen and Chickens’ theatre manager.

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“We were going to go but you have to go with a lot of money, and this is the first time we’re doing this show,” says comedian Jim Daly, half of duo Jim and Dave Have Lost The Dressing Room, performing August 6-7.

The show is the creation of Daly and his friend Dave Bibby, two football fans who have grown sick of the way football is discussed on the TV and radio as either completely serious or laddish.

Giving reassurance that their show will be accessible to all leagues of football fan, Daly claims that as long as you know who Wayne Rooney is and the fact that England are rubbish at penalties, you’ll be fine.

“We feel that being a football fan is about having fun. I support Crystal Palace and they never win anything.

“Unless you support a team who wins all the time, you have to find it funny when it’s bad.

“I think that’s the case for 99 per cent of football fans.”

The Bearded Women are also on the jam-packed set list on August 8-12 with Botheration.

A three-piece whose stand up revolves around the daily complications of life, Andrew West, Stephanie Peart and Dan Green gig alongside their full-time jobs.

“We don’t want to commit 10 grand and a month to going to Edinburgh,” says West.

“By then Steph will be eight months pregnant so there’s a risk that the show will turn into a four-hander one day – that’s enough to be going on with for the time being!”

With 24 shows a week, the Hen and Chickens is keeping busy, cramming in as many laughs and tears as their waking hours will allow.

“The longest day of the week is Saturday when we have six shows,” says Lyminster.

“We have people getting changed in the cellar while there’s a show on upstairs in the theatre.

“They go up the back stairs while the show that’s on is being applauded and into the dressing room.

“Then the guys come off stage and take down their set and the next one’s on.”

Phew. Sounds like someone needs a holiday…Edinburgh, anyone?

Camden Fringe shows run throughout August at Hen and Chickens,

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