Arts Review: The Secret Policeman’s Ball

GU Amnesty International, QMU, 19th February

Piranhas, Hakkas and Junky Jesus…It must be the Secret Policeman’s Ball.

When entering Qudos for the Glasgow University Amnesty event, my friend and I were surprised to find the room filled with round tables covered in fancy tablecloths with candles in the centre, creating an ambiance of relaxation. Not long after sitting down, our unseen host informed us through the speakers that the event would begin in five minutes. Naturally, we had to wait for another fifteen, giving us enough time to consume a few drinks.

The show began with our compere revealing himself as Billy Kirkwood. His charismatic wit when interacting with the audience both at the beginning and between acts allowed the event to run smoothly and ensured the constant entertainment of an already enthusiastic crowd. With regards to the other stand-ups performing we were treated to Rossco McLelland, who entertained us with his surreal comparison of dogs and piranhas. Then, Christopher McArthur Boyd, whose darkly cynical and self-deprecating one-liners (such as ‘when I’m offered drugs I always say yes because I’m too polite to turn down a gift’) had us in stiches; and finally the headline act: Ashley Storrie, whose tell-it-like-it-is approach to issues such as Tinder, her last sexual experience, and her ‘sexual harassment hakka’ were hilarious and even drew moments of applause throughout.

Interspersed with these wonderful stand-up acts were Dangle Manatee, a musical duet who offered their ‘storytelling’ through song and poetry, and two comedy sketch groups. The first of these were the Glasgow Sketch and Stand-up Society (GLASS), who delivered three humorous sketches on someone being escorted to Hell in a lift (‘Down to floor 666’ ‘Isn’t that up?’); an argument between a passive aggressive couple; and a business meeting with a tyrannical boss that ended with an unexpected homoerotic twist. The Second sketch group, Chunks, offered various short but snappy sketches, from  ‘Junky Jesus’ to a scathingly satirical routine involving a misogynistic, laddish guy attempting to flirt with a disinterested girl.

 Overall, the entire night was a fabulous success from start to finish, offering us an entertainingly diverse night of comedy, followed by an after-party in Jim’s Bar to carry on with the festivities. The slogan ‘Come One Come All to the Secret Policeman’s Ball’ is one we should all embrace year, not just because it’s in aid of a good cause, but because it more than exercises its right to be hilarious.

[Liam Caldwell]

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