Chris Tavener @ Three Minute Theatre

Blimey, it’s been a long week. Pretty knackering, as it goes. We’re not ready to head home just yet though. Instead, we’re on our way to watch some musical comedy. The artist in question is acoustic guitar-wielding Chris Tavener, who has tempted us along to a recording of his show.

We’ve checked out a few of his songs and we’re ready to be entertained. Let’s see how it goes.

He’s certainly picked a venue to complement the quirkiness of his act. The Three Minute Theatre in Affleck’s Arcade is a characterful space and it’s keen for you to know it. A unicycle sits on a wall next to a miniature harp. An axolotl lounges in a tank in the corner. Yeah, we’re definitely in the Northern Quarter.

The first thing that stands out is Tavener’s topic choices. He skewers subjects such as festivals, gap years and your choice of smartphone, all in an inclusive way that allows people of all ages and generations to laugh at each other. It’s really pretty clever and the latter two tunes are real highlights of the set.

A voiceover is used to transmit his ‘thoughts’ to the audience in between songs. This allows him to display his talent for physical comedy as he reacts to the misgivings of his subconscious. It also makes clear that audience banter isn’t on the agenda here. Indeed, Tavener’s crowd is content to let him get on with things and play to his strengths, trusting that the laughs are easily found in the musical material.

His new single, ‘Faking Cool’, is a well-crafted tale of someone trying too hard to be trendy, which is enjoyably close to the bone considering our location. It’s a proper song packed with wit, so why not give the video a watch?

Then there’s ‘Apocalypse Prediction’, which mirthfully mocks those doom-mongering prophecies that regularly fail to predict the downfall of humanity, and ‘Crisis in Northwich’, where global issues are compared with the warped perspective of small town melodrama.

We encore with a couple of songs about relationships. ‘Modern Romance (She’s So Drunk)’ appears to be a favourite with the pre-existing Tavener fans in the audience. By the sounds of the excited gasps to our right, one group seem to have been waiting for it all evening. It’s followed by ‘Super Cool Sadie’, a tale of lusting after someone out of your league. We’ve all been there.

In a just world, that will also soon be true about Chris Tavener gigs, because he’s created a really cheerful, upbeat and enjoyable show that’ll make you smile. We’re glad we stayed out.

Chris’s DVD is likely to be available in early 2018. Follow him on Twitter for updates on exactly when you can get your hands on it, or head to his website to see where you can catch him next.

(Image courtesy of Lizzie Brankin)

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