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Sex, Drugs and Admin
Etcetera Theatre
9th August 2014


Sex, Drugs and Admin. Everyone does at least one of those regularly, right? London comedians Jimmy Bird and Frances Foster team up to tell us about their experiences with all three so far, supported by Alex Parry. Despite - or perhaps because of the show's title - it's not the wildest of gigs for a night-time Camden slot. However, it is a lot of fun.

Parry may not be credited on the publicity material, but he's a very natural MC, who comes with the right balance of preprepared jokes and spontaneous banter. He brings the room on side straight away and keeps the energy up, remembering every individual he's spoken to and trying to make them a part of the show. Parry is a great compere and I'd like to see him doing his own set properly, as I suspect he's probably quite good.

Out of everyone on stage, it's Bird who feels the most scripted. His timing and delivery are almost too spot on, and this makes his patter feel a little unnatural. As he talks about his memories of lifeguarding, chatting up girls in clubs and being mugged, you know better than to interrupt. Outwardly, he looks comfortable enough, and he wouldn't stick out in Camden, but you half-wonder how he would react if someone tried to heckle him. Some comedians live off the energy provided by a boisterous audience, but Bird prefers the safety of a fourth wall. Some of his jokes don't quite land, but on the whole, it's a solid if somewhat tame set.

Jimmy Bird

Photography provided by Jimmy Bird

Headline act Foster makes his entrance with an improvised introduction, which does help make his section feel less forced, but whilst he has a more genuine delivery, it's clear he's spent just as much time writing his own lines as Bird has. Foster just gets away with this more, he's a very likeable chap who throws in a bit of self-deprecation but doesn't overuse it. There were a few moments where Foster didn't quite get the reaction he had anticipated and ploughed on anyway - personally, I always find it works better to acknowledge this and then carry on - but overall, he's fairly charming and puts in an animated performance.

Foster draws on his mixed race heritage and teaching career, like Bird, mining his own personal live without giving too much away. Jokes about his pupils go down well, lazy as it might be stealing material from kids. He also makes some astute observations with which any other 30-somethings will identify. I can't say I've quite signed up for a triathlon, but he's on the money with his comments.

As far as comedy shows go, Sex, Drugs and Admin isn't as interactive as it could be. Now, I live in fear of audience participation just as much as the next girl, but I still think live comedy should get people involved - otherwise, why come into town when you could just watch a couple of funny men on the telly box? Parry makes an effort to pull us in, but this isn't really followed through by the other two men. Nonetheless, Sex, Drugs and Admin does make for a thoroughly entertaining 60 minutes. A bargain at only a fiver, but Bird and Foster have their best years ahead of them yet.

Sex, Drugs and Admin opened on 8th August and runs until 10th August 2014, as part of the Camden Fringe.

Nearest tube station: Camden Town (Northern)

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