The Parapod – live

Tonight I was in Nottingham to see my final two shows of the comedy festival, both conveniently at the Lacehouse, which is located pretty much equidistant from anywhere reasonable to park. There is a NCP car park next door, but after getting badly stung when I’ve parked there before (it cost me more to park than to see the show that night), I elected to walk for fifteen minutes instead. I arrived early, but the room was already very full, with emergency chairs coming into play. There were so many people present it probably made it tricky for both Barry and Ian to make it to the stage. There were quite a few prominent figures present, such as Judi, Simon Caine, Helen and Alex plus our host, Stevie Gray who in rather a nice touch was wearing a Ghostbusters top specially.

We began with Boldsworth taking to the stage and explaining the tale behind how the show came to be on there. This was then followed by a splendid story concerning a row he overheard when stood outside a venue (I think everyone would have loved to have known what happened with that couple after he had advised the lady). This was followed by Boldsworth telling the room how he felt that Barry’s choice of wording in the brochure may possibly have given a certain impression of what the show was about. He then offered the room a choice; they could either listen to them both do a comedy set each, or they could do The Parapod, a question with a very obvious and unanimous answer. At this Barry Dodds made his way to the stage and the show began properly.

Boldsworth and Dodds work well together. One is a sceptic and the other an uncritical believer in the paranormal and the Parapod revolves around Barry talking about ghosts and other such mysteries and Ian demolishing them through logic and sarcasm. This theme was very much in evidence tonight. I’m not sure which one of the two has the most patience. I don’t think anyone has ever accused Dodds of being over prepared and this must have driven Boldsworth up the wall when they were recording the episodes. On the other hand, Dodds has probably had enough insults and sarcastic comments from Ian to last several lifetimes. Watching Boldsworth spend the hour teasing the very good natured Dodds was a lot of fun, as none of it was nasty. Spender was definitely a niche reference, though and telling the arachnophobic Dodds that there was a spider was beautiful. At this point it felt more like an evening with, rather than a show as such, but it was no less enjoyable for it. I’d happily pay good money just to watch these two bounce off of each other.

Barry opened with the tale of a local haunting; a pub with a small boat in it where anyone who touches it dies. A chap sat on the front row queried the timescale, which as Ian pointed out, if it takes 100 years or so, it is hardly a mystery. Barry countered this by discussing a journalist and when her credentials were questioned, his unarguable reply was that she was ‘proper sound’. This was followed by the paranormal story of Gef the Talking Mongoose, which was a big story in the 1930s. There was then a question and answer session, with the audience asking questions from how they met, to whether their beliefs had changed as a result of what they have learnt. This was good fun. The closing section was the ritual Charlie, Charlie, with Corben coming to the stage to act as an independent adjudicator to see that it was above board. Owing to Barry getting the wrong end of the stick, he did most of this in what he was hoping would pass as a Mexican accent.

The audience were all either huge fans of the Parapod podcast, or were with someone who was, but it was surprising just how well informed they were about the show. Little sections that both comedians were now unfamiliar with were well known to most of the audience and people were able to shout out which episode of which series certain things had occurred on. This was a very loyal fan base and people had travelled a long way to see them. There is a parapod film coming out, which should be excellent and there was a lot of talk about various incidents that occurred whilst filming. This was both interesting and funny and I really hope that they do a tour to promote the film, as I can see it doing well.

This was a lovely show, that had a very warm atmosphere and there was a heck of a lot of adoration for the pair – it’s possibly the first time I’ve seen people getting autographs. It was very funny and I had a great time.

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