Play Hard

12 comedy shows that’ll put a smile on your face

The impending return of Newcastle’s Fringe Festival isn’t the only place to get your belly laughs in this Summer…

Written by High Life North
Published 16.06.2021


When? 2nd July

Where? Darlington Hippodrome

After two consecutive sell-out tours, North East local Carl returns to Darlington with a brand new show. Expect stories, observations and plenty of audience interaction – all in Carl’s characteristically affable style. Undeniably hilarious, with brilliant characterisations and expert timing, Carl’s guaranteed to make you laugh until you cry.

Get tickets here 


When? 27th July–7th August

Where? Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle

10 of the best touring shows, six artistic development workshops, two commissioning seed pots, one producers summit and so much more… This year’s Newcastle Fringe Festival is here to impress.

This year’s programme includes: an exploration of grief through the medium of clowning, music and physical comedy; an immersive, lip-syncing comedic taxi journey; music-driven theatre performances; a rom-com with a twist; and something that lies somewhere between stand up and an astrophysics lecture. Oh yeah, as well as performances from chart-topping, award-bashing contemporary theatre company, In Bed With My Brother.

Get tickets here


When? 28th–31st July
Where? Middlesbrough Theatre
Originally written in the ‘70s before being revised in the ‘90s, Bouncers is an outrageous and hilarious parody of the disco scene.

Four brutish bouncers portray over 20 different characters – taking us with them for a night out on the town. Relive your misspent youth and laugh away your lockdown blues at this show to remember.

Get tickets here


When? 23rd–28th August

Where? Theatre Royal, Newcastle

Back with their biggest comedy catastrophe to date, multi award-winning Mischief (The Play That Goes Wrong, BBC One’s The Goes Wrong Show) return to the stage with their hilarious new show – created with magic legends, Penn & Teller.

The premise? A hapless gang of magicians are staging an evening of grand illusion to raise cash for charity. But as the magic turns to mayhem, accidents spiral out of control… and so does their fundraising target! Raising the bar with their dare-devil stunts, jaw-dropping feats and irresistible comedy genius, Mischief’s Magic Goes Wrong comes to Newcastle Theatre Royal direct from the West End.

Get tickets here 


When? 3rd September

Where? Gala Theatre, Durham

In this, Sarah’s sixth international tour, you’ll learn about what happens when your mouth seals shut, how to throw poo over a wall, trying to lose weight but only losing the tip of your finger, a surprisingly funny smear test, and how truly awful a floatation tank can be.

Get tickets here 


When? 3rd September

Where? Middlesbrough Town Hall

Comedy superstar John Bishop is coming to Middlesbrough with his highly anticipated new stand up show, Right Here, Right Now.

This will be John’s eighth stand up show and it’s shaping up to be his best yet. Which is saying something, considering his huge success across the world – including tucking a number of his own comedy, entertainment and documentary shows under his belt. Prepare for laughs, and lots of them.

Get tickets here


When? 13th September

Where? The Stand, Newcastle

This is a brand new show from Manchester comedian Rachel. She has no idea what it’s about yet, but a lot has happened, hasn’t it? One thing she can promise is dark humour, a bit of filth and probably some misplaced outrage about everything from insomniacs to slasher movies.

Get tickets here 


When? 28th August

Where? The Customs House, South Shields

No plan. No script. One sofa. Two Microphones. And plenty of laughs. Join Jason Cook and Carl Hutchinson, just two comics riffing off the audience and making up the gags in front of your very eyes. These shows are chaotic, wonderful and always sell out – so get your tickets fast! Then sit back and let Jason and Carl blow those lockdown cobwebs right off your faces.

Get tickets here 


When? 24th September

Where? The Maltings, Berwick

Having hit 60 (but still a year younger than Madonna), Jenny Eclair – aka ‘The Face of Vagisan’ – confronts a new decade of decrepitude.

Now that it takes 20 minutes of scrolling down to find her DOB when she’s filling in forms online, should she celebrate or crawl into a hole? What will her 60s hold for this ‘60s babe? And is it a legal requirement to buy Nordic walking poles?

Get tickets here


When? 25th September

Where? Alnwick Playhouse

One of British comedy’s most exciting talents (although she’s Danish), winner of the prestigious Edinburgh Best Newcomer Award, a cult podcaster and now the author of the hugely successful book Happy Fat, Sofie Hagen returns to the North East with a brand new show, direct from the Edinburgh Fringe.  A show about the things you forget, the things you remember and the things you wish you could forget. But also, there’s a bit about bums.

Get tickets here


When? 4th–5th October

Where? Northern Stage, Newcastle

In Teesside, 2049, a supernatural fog has descended – and things are getting weird…

Blade Runner meets Mighty Boosh in Tales from The Smog: an absurd, sci-fi comedy-noir with live animation and spooky stories. Oh, and a multi-dimensional alien invasion that will make your eyes water and your nose bleed. (Only joking. Kinda).

Get tickets here


When? 15th–16th October

Where? Sunderland Empire

Four years in the making, Not Again, Alan! brings everyone up to date with what’s been going on in Alan Carr’s world. From the exhilarating high of his star-studded wedding day to the low of lockdown stuck on a farm, Alan tells it like it is – in his own inimitable style.

Get tickets here



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