I realised a while back that there are many reasons not to write a review of a ‘Work in progress’ show but I hadn’t been to this Vault Festival venue before and wanted to share my experience.

I had actually walked past the theatre on Brad Street a number of times without ever really noticing it. It’s a small doorway that opens in to a tiny bar which in turn leads in to a classic Fringe style comedy theatre venue. I have rarely gained the Edinburgh Festival feel from a venue in London but this was pretty close. It was laid back and professional, yet amateurish in a fun way – Although I wasn’t so amused when the venue ran out of gin before Mae’s performance. Come on guys, alcohol supply is rule 1!

Mae was wandering around the crowded bar handing out paper and pens and asking for questions from which to construct her show. My suited friend who already felt like a fish out of water offered up “Should I really be here?” which I quickly threw in the bin… Of course he should be here.  Comedy is for everyone, even loud, occasionally obnoxious, but lovable, drunk bankers – just don’t tell too many of your work colleagues.

Mae was on great form, riffing with the crowd and telling anecdotes about her therapist – whose full name and address she 100% DID NOT give out in a room of people. The material from these nights will never be replicated but it is fascinating to watch a clown of this caliber get their imagination sparked by a random question, which leads to a story, that they then realise they can spin a routine from. Some work, some don’t but in the hands of this particular clown they are always entertaining.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable hour and if she does decide to do this format of show on a monthly basis I can only recommend attending. I should also add that my banking friend thoroughly loved it and nearly laughed up a lung when Mae compared herself – in a “that’s so harsh but now that I’ve looked it up I can sort of see it” kinda way – with Sid from Toy Story.

Kudos to Vault Festival, you don’t get a night like this in Central London for under a tenner very often.

Clown Stars: (- unrated -)

 @ Waterloo East Theatre , London