Back in the swirling comedy mists of time there was a sketch group called Soup. We proudly presented a new show monthly- usually flying on only a couple of weeks-worth of script time.

I’d like to think we were quite experimental- it was a little bit ‘cabaret’, but also included filmed video sections- all presented with raw amateur flair. The show settled on a circus theme initially (a world apart from tragic BBC sitcom, Big Top), later moving direction to a rather odd school. I think it ran for around three years in total.

Soup dissolved for a couple of reasons: Machinations of the Newcastle comedy circuit – the main comedy club, The Hyena, changed ownership and focus, leaving us without a regular venue. I think the main players in the group also decided there were better places to grow their comedy talents and moved en-masse to Manchester – where Jason Cook, Lee Fenwick (a.k.a Mick Sergeant), John Cooper, Dan Nightingale and Seymour Mace are all going strong.

Lee headlined last night at The Laughing Penguin comedy night. He’s always been a fan of challenging character comedy- and I have to say, he’s really nailed it now. While Mick has always been enjoyable, there’s been something about him that’s seemed inconsistent; pulling him back from being stellar. Not last night. After a very mixed line-up (amongst whom Adnan Ahmed‘s relaxed delivery shone), Mick came out and stormed our hearts and minds.

It was great to see a couple of old Soupers there: John Bullock, Ben Traynor and Suj Pannu (whose brother, Raj, presided over Soup’s music) were all in attendance and in good form.

I certainly miss that time of life. Soup gave me a quirky outlet for my energies, and I met some very talented people there. In some ways I regret that I didn’t take a more active part in pushing the show further, because it certainly had potential to travel. I was too wrapped up in an (over-)full-time job to give it more attention, I suppose.

Special mentions also to Mick Laffey (our long-suffering ring-master) and Tim Hodgson (the funniest man to ever grace a stage with carpet taped to his head).

Heinz, Pugsley, the Ringmaster, and yes- even you, the twisted Sweetie Man; this is in loving memory of the fun times!

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