The Valaitis Brothers performing on stage
The Valaitis Brothers performing on stage

15th September 2018, Victoria Hall, Old Harlow

A comedy event hot on the heels of the ‘Linkfest’ Labour Marquee, which featured music and comedy over two days, seemed to some a possible ‘bridge too far’. Too ambitious? We shouldn’t have worried! Stand Up for Harlow was a night of laughter and joy, with a superb, eclectic mix of artists/performers. 

‘Voices of Harlow Choir’, opened, before Braintree comedian Rob Saunders and second act Nick Hall warmed up the audience, and set the tone for the evening with their wry observational comedy. Next up was Iranian/Palestinian comic Jenan Younis, who’s comedy relied on her upbringing as an ‘ethnic’ in a 1000 pupil Girls School in Surrey, and a wry look at the politics of the middle eastern regions of her parents’ birth.

The second half opened with an excellent set from the Valaitis Brothers, before ex ‘The Voice’ semi-finalist, and now Stand-Up Comedian Jordan Gray wrung every ounce of humour from the lived experience of a transgender female. The evening took a joyful but surreal turn with the appearance of Kat Bond, her act premised on a search for her family who abandoned her at birth, in ‘a bin in Bush Fair’.

The final performance, Lolly Jones as ‘Burlesque Theresa May’ brought the house down with her hilarious but risque show. The high note on which the show ended emphatically underlined what a great success the sell-out event had been. The whole evening has been seamlessly MC’d by Harlow Young Labour’s Rhiannon May-Jenkins, taking on her first ever comparing role. Discussion amongst those involved in planning the event immediately turned to thoughts of an even bigger and better presentation in the spring of 2019, perhaps at a larger venue. As they say, ‘Watch this space …’ 

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