Feast on comedy in Warwick

Feast on comedy in Warwick

We all need a laugh these days . . . am I right?

Hail then the much-anticipated return of the live arts and, in particular stand-up comedy. The perfect antidote for a post-pandemic chilly February evening!

If you’re not in the know, then I’m referring to Comedy at Work’s monthly stand-up gigs at Revive Café and Bar in Warwick.

Revive Cafe and Bar, Warwick, Comedy at Work
Comedy compere Elliot Powell

Selling out faster than booze at the PM’s nearest off-licence(!) – these popular events are going down a veritable storm with locals and out-of-towners alike.

So I thought it was time to check out the vibe at their latest laughter fest this week.

The Comedy at Work team assembled a line-up of five laughter makers – and with the help of Warwick’s very own funny man compere Elliot Powell – kept a packed audience entertained for more than two hours.

Word of warning though – don’t sit on the front rows in what is already an intimate venue for comedy if you don’t want to become part of the show!

But it was clear everyone was up for plenty of banter and the jokes were lapped up as readily as the liquid refreshments.

Headline act Rachel Jackson made the most of a whipped up comedy crowd by the time her act closed the show. It had been a fun and lively evening for the appreciative crowd- and just the tonic we all needed.

The live gigs return once a month to Revive so if you want to feast on the fun, book now here

Next month’s headliner is the newly crowned British Comedian of the Year, Jeff Innocent.

Comedy at Work, Anne Docherty, Mark Hinds, children's comedy workshops
Mark Hinds and Anne Docherty who run Comedy at Work. Photo by jane@janusphotography.co.uk

Anne Docherty and Mark Hinds from Warwickshire are the creative minds behind Comedy at Work, an innovative business that brings stand-up to venues across the country.

For details of all Comedy At Work’s upcoming gigs visit here

As well as monthly comedy morsels, Revive Café and Bar is serving up a newly extended menu under new Executive Chef Catalino Bernal. ‘Cats’ – as he’s known – has spent 25 years working in restaurant kitchens at home and abroad, including the prestigious Shangri-La Hotel in his native Philippines and, locally, The Saxon Mill in Warwick and The Orange Tree, in Chadwick End.

Diners are now able to choose from new dishes including steaks, ribs, risotto and wider vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free selection. A new range of bar snacks has also been introduced. (Look out for reviews in the local press soon!)

Revive Cafe Bar, Cats Bernal, Comedy at Work, menu

The popular venue, in Smith Street, is now open even longer, from 8am-6pm Monday and Tuesday, 8am-11pm Wednesdays to Saturdays and 9am-10pm on Sundays. Visit here to check out the menu or to book a games table. Group bookings can be made by calling 01926 403 333.

This successful Revive and Comedy at Work collaboration reminds me of the words of a certain William Shakespeare: “Prepare for mirth, for mirth becomes a feast.”

And we all deserve to gorge on as much of it as possible. . .

New executive chef heralds growth of popular café bar

New executive chef heralds growth of popular café bar

Revive Cafe Bar, Cats Bernal, Comedy at Work, menu

A popular café bar has welcomed a new executive chef as part of plans to expand its offering just six months after opening its doors to customers in Warwick.

Revive Café and Bar in Smith Street unveils its new menu under Filipino Catalino Bernal, formerly head chef at the nearby Pickled Crab.

Diners are now able to choose from new dishes including steaks, ribs, risotto and wider vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free selection. A new range of bar snacks has also been introduced.

And there’s even more time to enjoy it thanks to extended opening hours to now offer evening service on Wednesday to Sunday, serving food all day.

Revive marks the second project – and a new direction – for owner James Byrne, from Warwick, who decided to convert the former Furniture Shop below his software business, AccountancyManager, before opening in June last year.

James said: “We opened Revive with the vision of creating a location for people of all ages to enjoy, offering a combination of great coffee, tasty food and enjoyable games.

“We hadn’t appreciated how the local community would embrace us, with customers being kind with their feedback and rewarding us with their repeat custom.

“In 2022 we intend to build on this by giving more to our customers. We’re positive that these changes will continue to improve Revive’s customer experience. We look forward to seeing all our existing customers and meeting new ones very soon.

Catalino Bernal, from Warwick- also known as ‘Cats’ – has spent 25 years working in restaurant kitchens at home and abroad, including the prestigious Shangri-La Hotel in The Philippines and, locally, The Saxon Mill in Warwick and The Orange Tree, in Chadwick End.

Revive Cafe Bar, Cats Bernal, Comedy at Work, menu

Of his latest move, he said: “I’m excited by the opportunity to join Revive as I believe the venue is offering something unique to the local area, and I’ll be looking to enhance this with my cooking.

“Some dishes draw inspiration to the flavours I grew up with in the Philippines, whereas other dishes are more local favourites as well as increasing the range of vegan options.”

Hidden at the back of Revive is the venue’s pièce de résistance – the games room housing darts, ping pong, table football and pool. The games tables can be booked in half-hour slots through the website or in person.

Revive Cafe Bar, Cats Bernal, Comedy at Work, menu
Fennel and Chilli Squid

This space also hosts the venue’s increasingly popular live entertainment evenings – karaoke, open mic and stand-up comedy, with quiz nights soon also to be added to the events ‘menu.’

James added: “Our events calendar looks bigger and better in 2022, with comedy nights returning on the first Thursday of every month hosted by Comedy At Work. We will also continue the Open Mic nights hosted by Dan Sealey, former bass guitarist of Ocean Colour Scene and karaoke nights. In addition, this year, we will be introducing quiz nights using the speed quizzing format, a fast-paced quiz that all ages will enjoy.”

 

Revive Cafe Bar, Cats Bernal, Comedy at Work, menu
Crispy Duck Salad

The next events lined up are an Open Mic Night on Friday, January 28th (no tickets required) and a Comedy Night at 7pm on Thursday, February 3rd. Tickets for this can be booked via here

Revive Café and Bar is now open even longer, from 8am-6pm Monday and Tuesday, 8am-11pm Wednesdays to Saturdays and 9am-10pm on Sundays.

Visit here to check out the menu or to book a games table. Group bookings can be made by calling 01926 403 333.

Raising laughs and loot through virtual comedy night

Raising laughs and loot through virtual comedy night

A virtual night of comedy raised much-needed laughs – and £1,500 for a Birmingham charity.

The gig marked the return of charity stand-up events organised by Comedy at Work creatives Anne Docherty from Kenilworth and Mark Hinds from Warwick.

Comedy at Work, Networkfour, Lodders Charitable Foundation, Laura Lexx, Scott Bennett, Samantha Day, David Eagle, Anne Docherty, Mark Hinds, Proceeds from the virtual gig, supported by Lodders Charitable Foundation, will support Birmingham-based charity Networkfour which, for the last 13 years, has worked to shine a light on the issues of poverty, hardship and lives negatively impacted by criminality.

Networkfour Founder and Project Director Gary Wicker, said: “‘It was a fantastic evening and we are so grateful for the support from Lodders Charitable Foundation and Comedy at Work to make it possible, and to everyone who bought tickets.

“We work with over 500 vulnerable children, at risk young people, hard to reach adults and crisis families each year, many of whom face horrendous situations and circumstances. They money raised will go a long way to enabling us to change the lives to the most vulnerable in Birmingham.

Helping to lay on the virtual laughs, on April Fool’s Day were four comedians who are rising stars on the UK comedy circuit.

Award-winning Laura Lexx, from Taunton, is best known for her TV comedy appearances including Live At The Apollo and Mock The Week. She also hit the headlines last year when she landed a book deal following a series of tweets imagining life with Liverpool FC manager Jurgen Klopp which went viral.

Yorkshireman Scott Bennet has won acclaim with comedy awards and has appeared on BBC Radio 4 as well as alongside the likes of Rob Brydon, Michael McIntyre and Helen Lederer.

New comedian of the Year at Leicester Square Theatre and Bath Comedy Festival in 2019, David Eagle is also an accomplished musician. The blind funnyman from Stockton instantly wins audiences over with his quip about having ‘dark humour.’

Overseeing it all was Samantha Day, from Watford. The former accountant-turned stand-up comedian, reached the semi-finals of Jason Manford’s Best New Act 2020 just before lockdown as well as making it through to the semi-finals of the Best New Act at Bath Comedy Festival in 2019.

Law firm Lodders created the Lodders Charitable Foundation (LCF) in 2016 with the aim of raising vital financial support and providing help to local charities where it can make a genuine difference. Networkfour is one of four independent charities chosen as sole beneficiaries of LCF in 2021 and 2022.

Chairman of Lodders Charitable Foundation, David Lodder said: “We are living through pretty difficult times, but the Virtual Comedy Night was an excellent event that brought plenty of fun, laughter and some light relief into people’s homes.

“The Foundation knows Networkfour will make excellent use of the proceeds to support its incredible work with young people, adults and families in crisis who are sadly facing issues of poverty, hardship and lives negatively impacted by criminality. The charity’s dedicated team and volunteers carry out amazing and vital work and always strive to help transform the circumstances some people sadly find themselves in.”
For more information about The Lodders Charitable Foundation visit: www.lodders.co.uk/about-us/lodders-charitable-foundation

Comedy at Work, Networkfour, Lodders Charitable Foundation, Laura Lexx, Scott Bennett, Samantha Day, David Eagle, Anne Docherty, Mark Hinds,
Comedy at Work co-founders Anne Docherty and Mark Hinds. Photo by David Fawbert Photography.

Anne Docherty, co-founder of Comedy at Work, said: “We had an awesome night of comedy – thanks to everyone that bought tickets and came along and to the comedians who had us all laughing throughout. We raised £1,500 for Networkfour and because this event was supported by the Lodders Charitable Foundation every penny raised goes to the charity. It was a privilege to be involved.”

As well as bringing stand-up to venues across the country in support of local charities, Comedy at Work hosts a series of workshops for all ages, all with comedy and wellbeing at their heart – from school-leavers and graduates through to team building, corporate training and even wedding speech coaching.

During lockdown they successfully transitioned their workshops online but have already seen a huge demand for tickets for the first of their returning face to face comedy nights in village halls across the region, from next month.

Visit: https://www.comedyatwork.com/ for further information.

More information about Networkfour can be found at: https://www.networkfour.org.uk/

Bringing laughter back into lockdown with new Dads’ workshops

Bringing laughter back into lockdown with new Dads’ workshops

CARDS on the table – many of our dads are seen as a bit of a joke when it comes to their entertaining skills.

But it seems now they can now turn that all around, thanks to a unique new professional comedy and magic workshop – with real West End glitz.

The live remote workshops, believed to be the first of their kind in the country, are led by West End magician Wayne Trice and comedian Mark Hinds.

Mark, along with Anne Docherty, from Warwickshire, are the creative minds behind Comedy at Work, an innovative new business that has comedy – and mental wellbeing – at its heart.

Comedy At Work
Mark Hinds and Anne Docherty. Photo by David Fawbert Photography

The former stockbroker-turned cabbie met mum-of three Anne on a six-week comedy course in London before moving to Warwick to establish their new business which continues to grow.

They host comedy nights as well as workshops, teaching how to apply the benefits of laughter-making to all areas of life, from school leavers and graduates to team building and wedding speeches.

The latest 90-minute magic and comedy workshops, which are also available for children, use creative tools and techniques to help not just learn the trick but develop a story around it, while also creating tension and drama in their performance.

Wayne’s love affair with magic started over 30 years ago after seeing a TV show called Illusions. Harbouring ambitions to become a professional magician, research led him to Davenport in London – the world’s oldest family-run magic shop. It was here, aged 13, he started attending his first magic workshop, meeting other magicians.

But it wasn’t until he was 40 that Wayne decided to pursue his dream and packed up his career in internet banking, to become a magician full time. Since then he has gone on to perform magic shows across the country, including West End theatres – and can usually be found stealing the spotlight at corporate events and weddings.

Wayne Trice, magic, comedy, Comedy at Work, workshops
West End magician Wayne Trice.

He said: “Whenever I run a workshop, there is always a Dad who is sat at the back practising the tricks I am teaching to the kids. They get excited and from the back of the room I hear comments like ‘This is fantastic, I’ll be doing this down the pub later.’

But, like all performers, COVID-19 has dulled the spotlights forcing Wayne to take his talents online for the continued benefit of others.

Anne Docherty said: “We have been working with the kids online, both in our confidence-building workshops and with birthday parties and always get requests from parents to join in.

“We thought, with Father’s Day just around the corner, it would be a good time to give the parents chance to treat themselves by having some fun and doing something a bit different while most of us are still being forced to spend all or most of our time at home.

“It also gives them the ability to have some new ‘tricks up their sleeve’ when it comes to entertaining the kids during lockdown! All you need for these tricks are things most people have around the house, such as paperclips, elastic bands and a pack of cards. No special equipment is needed.

“The comedian also teaches Dad how to recover when a trick goes wrong and make it funny.”

And Mark, who met Wayne at a networking event, said: We very quickly knew we could combine our different passions of magic and comedy to deliver something unique.

And he’s quick to add: “You don’t have to be a Dad to attend this workshop – the ladies are very welcome too!”

Further information about the Dad Workshops is available at: www.comedyatwork.com/fathers-day

Details about all the Comedy at Work courses can found at: www.comedyatwork.com

New children’s workshops teach the art of laughter

New children’s workshops teach the art of laughter

TWO stand-up comedians are pledging to enrich young lives with the gift of laughter through the launch of their new children’s workshops in south Warwickshire.

Anne Docherty, from Kenilworth and Mark Hinds from Warwick, are the creative minds behind Comedy at Work, an innovative business that has comedy – and mental wellbeing – at its heart.

Comedy at Work, Anne Docherty, Mark Hinds, children's comedy workshops
Mark Hinds and Anne Docherty who run Comedy at Work. Photos by jane@janusphotography.co.uk

Now they are aiming to educate and entertain their youngest audiences yet by adapting their brand of humour in a series of two-hour comedy workshops geared to primary school-aged children across the country.

The start of their business journey was far from a laughing matter for the plucky pair who have both overcome personal setbacks in order to embark on this new chapter in their lives.

They met at a six-week comedy course after both deciding to take a new direction in their lives.

Comedy and Work, Anne Docherty, Mark Hinds

Fifty-year-old former stockbroker turned London cabbie, Mark, moved from the capital a few months ago to establish the new business with Anne, a mum of three.

For Anne, 43, left her corporate career last summer in order to become a comedian, it has proved to be the best decision of her life.

She said: “Through comedy I have rediscovered my creative side and my confidence and self-esteem has improved – definitely as a result of making others laugh – it is a great feeling.”

It’s this inspiration that drives her ambition for the core Comedy at Work ethos which, she hopes, will help nurture a healthy mindset in children, especially those who suffer with shyness.

She said: “I’ve had so much benefit as an adult from comedy in day to day life. It’s helped me in terms of reducing my own stress levels by learning to find the humour in situations I would normally have found stressful. And I want to share that with children.

“One of the things we’ve been doing is kids’ career workshops in schools and what we’ve found is that kids are naturally very funny and very creative.

“I have three little girls of my own and I use quite a lot of the workshop techniques with them on a daily basis. It’s just lovely when you see them start to come out of their shell. Even the really shy kids who would hardly speak at the beginning of the workshop are then up on the mic after an hour or two.

“It’s also to show them that laughter helps to bond with other people. It’s a lovely feeling to be able to make someone laugh. It’s also a shared experience.”

Comedy at Work, Anne Docherty, Mark Hinds

The workshops, which have been trialled with more than 500 children at five schools in the area, are open to two age groups: Years 3-4 (ages 7-8) and Years 5-6 (ages 9-11) and tackle performance skills and comedy improvisation exercises as well as ‘laughter yoga’ and even breathing exercises.

The sessions are designed specifically to develop skills such as creativity, public speaking, listening and confidence building among young people

Anne said: “But it’s also about learning to be silly. They’re allowed to be silly. They’re allowed to make the jokes they’re not allowed to make in class. They’re allowed to make each other laugh and it’s lovely to see that, particularly in this day and age where life can be so serious and the kids are under so much pressure to learn and get results. It is joyful to see these transformations happening in a really short space of time.

“By the end of the workshop they will have created something funny enough to present at the microphone and see how wonderful it feels to make an audience laugh – and discover that it’s not actually that scary.”

Comedy at Work, Mark Hinds

Anne and Mark also have longer term plans to introduce the workshops for secondary school-aged children.

Anne said: “I think it’s incredible that I’m able to bring something to kids today that was just not available to me as a child. There’s such a gap in the market and as human beings we absolutely love to laugh and yet there is so little focus on that in kids’ education and even in their extra-curricular groups.

“I know it’s a cliché, but laughter is such good medicine. Making life a bit more fun and light-hearted is no bad thing.”

Client Tal Arrowsmith, of Gro-Organic, said: “Throughout their session both Anne and Mark created an encouraging and supportive environment which enabled the pupils to challenge their comfort zones and build their confidence.

“Through their knowledge and experience of the role of a comedian, they gave the pupils the opportunity to develop their skills in performance and delivery, offering techniques in improvisation and adapting the performance to your audience.

“The pupils were also given the opportunity to experience laughter yoga and learned of the incredible benefit this can have on your wellbeing. The inspiring sessions brought excitement and humour into each school.”

The Children’s Comedy Workshops are available 10-12pm (Ages 7-8) and 1-3pm (Ages 9-11) over the Easter holidays at the following locations. . .

Tuesday, April 7th

The Kenilworth Centre

Thursday, April 9th

Warwick Gates Community Centre

Tuesday, April 14th

Norton Lindsey Village Hall

Thursday, April 16th

Kineton Village Hall

For more information or to book, visit: www.comedyatwork.com/kids

The Comedy at Work team is also hosting a series of stand-up nights at village halls throughout the region in aid of local charities. The next gigs are in Stretton on Dunsmore on March 20th; Quinton on April 3rd; Burton Dassett on April 25th and Hartwell on May 16th.