Tonight I was at the Ned Ludd to see Laura Monmoth’s LGBTQZX as part of the Nottingham Comedy Festival. Numbers weren’t huge, but those present more than made up for it with their enthusiasm. Monmoth opened with a warning about the show being niche, which it is and it isn’t. Monmoth keeps it accessible and explains things well, but if you are into Spectrum games you will get a lot more out of it, but frankly this could be said for most shows that have a particular appeal.
The theme of the show is Laura’s life and the power to change, demonstrated through the medium of Spectrum games and this makes for one heck of a charming concept. Monmoth had a good early joke about what some people may or may not have noticed, but I think that to get the most from it she should have broadened her accent a lot more. The ages gag ran nicely and it was good to see it returned to; although the red on orange must have made it tricky if anyone was sat far away from the screen.
There were a lot of lovely moments in this show. The c**** gallery was bang up to date, which was really appreciated by the audience; the tale about names was good and ‘the worst joke in the show’ was actually rather splendid. As anyone who longingly looked at the cover of a spectrum game and then discovered just how piss-poor the actual game was will know, a lot of computing then was about expectations exceeding reality and this show had some great comments about that and I enjoyed the improvements to reality immensely.
There were a few things that I thought might have been titivated for greater impact – the stalactites could perhaps have been glammed up for a quick visual gag, as could an added disapproving Cilla Black staring at the blind date scene. These are minor points, though. There were two huge standout moments in the show: The final game that wrapped everything up and provided callbacks galore – this was splendid, and the karaoke. This was very well thought out, but might be a bit too much of a good thing for pace reasons, perhaps just the first verse and chorus would be enough.
This show had tons of creativity behind it and it was delivered with verve. Uniquely for a show, there are three ways in which it can be developed. The LGBTQ side can be expanded to tap into that market, the more accessible sections can work as a good section in itself, but above all the Spectrum material would go down wonders at retro gaming conventions. There is a lot of love for the Spectrum and these conventions will provide a ready made audience already there who will get every niche joke and obscure reference. I can imagine Monmoth doing extremely well with that. This is a show that is well worth seeing and should be seen by more people.