Review Comedy at HOWL: International Women’s Day special by Hannah Lad

As a celebration of intentional women’s day Comedy @ HOWL gave the stage to an all-female line up featuring some hilarious comics and hosted by the wonderful Lorna Prichard.


The night consisted of 5 comedians, Karen Sherrard kicked us of introducing us to Iris Evans and her village fête, the set was fun and included some really interesting audience participation that engaged the crowed instantly.

This was followed by Jessie Johnson a Transgender comic with stories of her running’s with the Russian Mafia her witty response and good use of comic timing put everyone in high sprits.

Leading into Ems Coombes a disabled comic with stories about periods and songs about social edict that inspired me to not be so self-conscious in public.

Then fourth up we had Alice Taylor Mathews who was expecting a little ray of sunshine soon! An example of how women have more to deal with than men when it comes to biology!

Then ending with the brilliant Anna Keirle who had a well-crafted set that was delivered with brilliant timing and presence.  I can’t not mention the hosts Lorna Prichard’s brilliant interludes between this fab five. She set up each act in the perfect way so the audience were excited and in anticipation of what was to come.

I found the atmosphere of the night very interesting. It was a true celebration of diversity with a discussions after the show about women in comedy and women in the industry in general and some of the things women have to put up with. Listening to story`s from other women about the experiences they have had and things have been said to them gave the audience the majority of whom were women  a support network, this gave the evening a “gritty feel” said Lorna Prichard.

It posed the question me of “What can we do?” the treatment of women in society and the arts is said to be constantly improving, but I don’t believe it is. I only last week experienced myself an uncomfortable  rehearsal room. On top of being the only female in the room, I had to put up with sexist `jokes` some mocking the brilliant ME TOO campaign that has made massive strides for women. But are the strides really making a difference if they are mocked? All I can say is the way to stop this absurdity is by having these nights of celebration and create these support networks. We have to continue these conversations so change can happen.

I would invite men, women and others who may have opposing views to join me to talk about these issues safely so we as a society can progress. The only negative comment I would make about HOWL was the under representation of BAME performers and audience members, after just finishing with FIO on their brilliant project Declaration this was something that really stood out to me. But overall the night was exciting, thought provoking and was the centre of some interesting conversations.

Hannah Lad

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