It takes a rare talent to stand up and make a theatre full of people laugh – it also takes a rare talent to entertain the same crowd with impromptu music, magic and mayhem yet Alex Horne and his Horne Section do both with consummate ease.
People might know Alex from appearances on 8 out of 10 Cats does Countdown, Live at the Apollo and other chat shows; small segments which serve as comedic interludes but watching his full show, as we did at a sold out Gala Theatre, Durham, makes for an original and fun packed couple of hours.
Me and the Big' Lil' Bro had taken a 'lite' supper at the Lebanese restaurant Lebaneat, tucked into a whopper of a meze platter and, despite the walk back down the hill to the Gala, we still needed a bit more exercise to burn off the delicious range of grilled meats, rices, dips and salads - we need'nt have worried as our arms, legs and laughter muscles were about to get a great workout. (on a side note, we can DEFINITELY recommend Lebaneat, up near the Cathedral but better book a table, we were lucky to get one but, as is the sign of a great restaurant, it was packed with non-stop walk ups having to find somewhere else.)
Combining brilliant musical comedy with plenty of visual gags, including the most original use for Henry and Hetty Hoovers (which is more than a little trippy) , Alex performs a stand-up routine to rival the modern funny greats – Lee Evans, Al Murray, Lee Mack, Tim Vine et al, yet what Alex has extra in his hilarity arsenal is a backing team who themselves have great comedic timing and no small amount of playing skills.
Routines like “the reverse Conga”, getting the whole auditorium to do a “Zumba” workout, “songs are better for including the Baker Street sax” and plenty of audience participation make the evening uniquely funny without ever verging on silly or banal. Indeed, Alex manages to pay homage to old time vaudeville and music hall theatre, days when acts had to be experts in every aspect of entertaining and not resort to clichéd sexist or ‘shock’ tactics to entertain their audience.
The Horne Section is on tour and there’s not many better ways to spend an evening, just remember to take your comfy trainers and strap up your ribs.