Character studies that get Joe some big laughs

Joe Fairbrother will be performing his  new comedy show, 'Characters', at the Buxton Festival Fringe,  July 14-16, 2011
Joe Fairbrother will be performing his new comedy show, 'Characters', at the Buxton Festival Fringe, July 14-16, 2011

FORMER Sheffield schoolboy Joe Fairbrother is premiering his new comedy show, Characters, at the Buxton Festival Fringe en route to the Edinburgh Festival.

The show features a collection of lovable misfits created by the performer such as Wakefield’s only cycling proficiency examiner, a cash-in-hand Pentecostal pastor on his UK Religion Roadshow and the organiser of Solihull’s Swingers Weekend 2011.

Fairbrother, aged 26, grew up in Hathersage in the Hope Valley and attended King Edward VII school in Broomhill in the sixth form. He acted in two productions with King Edward’s Blank Slate Theatre Company at the Crucible Theatre and was a regular in Hathersage Players productions.

He now lives in London where he has been performing on the comedy circuit for the past couple of years. After school he moved to the capital to go to drama school. “I realised comedy rather than acting was what I really wanted to do so I gave up the course and decided I really wanted to make a go of it.”

Character comedy was his forte. “I was always doing different characters and when I was at school I did impressions of teachers so it was the natural thing for me to do,” he explains. “So I formulated sketches around some of these characters and introduced them at open mic spots at comedy clubs in London.”

The next step was to collect them together into a show which he is taking to the Edinburgh Festival.

“I really like the idea of a big show with video and lots of music,” he says. “There’s audience interaction, it’s as much an event as a show.”

The video sequences, which he filmed himself, are also vital in providing intervals where he can change characters.

“Being a one-man show I have had to rein in some of my ideas for costumes but there’s a bright blue Afro wig and a comb-over wig and Lycra cycling shorts.”

One of Fairbrother’s characters is the chairman of a village parish council – drawn from memories of life in Hathersage, perhaps?

“I find the goings on in a village absolutely hilarious,” he agrees.

“But I’m celebrating that, I’m not mocking it – promise. There may, however, be more than a passing resemblance to one or two local characters but I couldn’t possibly comment.”

Joe Fairbrother: Characters is at Underground Venues, The Square, Buxton, tonight (July 14), Friday and Saturday.