Review: Alternative Comedy It’s Downstairs! The Return at The East Village

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Ella Heaton reviews Alternative Comedy It’s Downstairs! at their show at The East Village last week.

Last Sunday, A.C.I.D! (Alternative Comedy It’s Downstairs!) hosted their first show of 2019, and it did not disappoint. The night was beautifully surreal. So surreal in fact, I often wondered – had I unknowingly consumed acid (as the name suggests) whilst there?

Performed at East Village, a ‘new wave dive bar’ in central Hyde Park, it was the first time A.C.I.D! had presented a show that was not set within the discomfort of a Hyde Park student house, yet it still held the same sentiment of a D.I.Y show. Our evening was set within a basement, a little bigger than a garage. Throughout the night, you often felt as if you were 15 again, in your parents garage, watching your mates piss around – but this made it all the more engaging. You invested in the comedians, instantly rooting for them.

The night featured 4 acts and was hosted by A.C.I.D! creators – Liam Kenrick and Sam Miller, or as they called themselves ‘Kenrick and Miller’. Although at times I felt audience awareness could have been developed, they were energetic, engaging and instantly likeable.

Canadian ‘Ella Jean’ began the show, using her pre-recorded tracks and loop machine to create live ambient beats. Her natural musicality shone through, reminiscent of the electronic music legacy of Canada (Grimes, Crystal Castles, Desire). Following this was 29 year old Ava Livingston, who started the show off with an awkward and wacky high. A personal highlight was the relatable discussion of just how frustrating it is when you want to solve a Rubik’s cube but also need to make a sandwich for your flatmate. Next on stage were ‘Daddy and the Boy’ (I assume a reference to It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), with their performance having all the markings of improv – some funny moments blended with awkward silence too. ‘‘What time is it’ came on next, a one man show. I do not know whether it was nerves, but it appeared slightly too desperate of wanting to be ‘meta’ .The last support was perhaps my favourite; the character based sketch of a French artist entitled ‘Chat Man’. Highly self-aware, his use of satire was successful and landed every single time.

Sean Morley was the showcased act for the evening. It was great. Obviously having years of experience under his belt, it showed through his ability to quickly detect what an audience  responded well to showed throughout. There was not one downturned mouth within the room. Recounting the time he pranked ‘ITV’ whilst stood on a mass grave in a village called Eyam, it was hilariously strange yet mundane. We were also lucky enough to be graced with Sean’s latest project; the inclusion on a large monster puppet within his shows.

A break from the status quo, there is an undeniable magic to attending an A.C.I.D! show, you feel as though you are part of something special. It is easily believable to think you could be witnessing comedy greats, years before they feature on film and T.V. For only 4 quid, it is so worth it.

Ella Heaton

Image Courtesy of @pretendonline