Have your ribs tickled as comedy festival hits the region

Lost Voice Guy
Lost Voice Guy

The cream of British comedy descends on the North East this weekend.

From tomorrow until June 14, the Jesterval Comedy Festival will bring more than 30 shows of rib-ticklers to Tyneside.

Jason Cook

Jason Cook

The action takes place in a 300-seater marquee in Baltic Square, at Gateshead Quays.

Highlights will include a performance from Sunderland City Council worker Lee Ridley, aka Lost Voice Guy.

The media worker, who won the 2014 BBC New Comedy Award, was born with cerebral palsy and uses an iPad to communicate.

Since making his comedy debut three years ago, Lee has performed all over the UK at venues including The Stand, Jongleurs, The Frog and Bucket, The Glee Club and The Comedy Store.

His unique act has been featured in The Guardian, BBC, CNN, The Sun and The Mail on Sunday.

Jesterval will also see Hebburn creator Jason Cook perform with old mate and co-star Chris Ramsey.

Jason has performed all over the country and won awards for his BBC2 sitcom Hebburn. The show, based on his own experiences of growing up in the town, ran for two series and a Christmas special.

Meanwhile, fellow Hebburn TV star Steffen Peddie is warming up his latest show on Tyneside before taking it on the road.

The comic is set to perform his new stand-up show, 99 Problems And The Chips Aren’t One, at Jesterval.

Steffen, who starred as Big Keith in the BBC Two sitcom, will take the stage at 3pm on Sunday.

He said: “The idea of the show is that the audience asks the questions and I solve their problems, while telling them stories and giving out some advice.”

Other standout names on the programme include Gavin Webster, Ed Byrne, Sara Pascoe, Lili La Scala, Romesh Ranganathan, Kate Lucas, Jimmy Cricket, Boy with Tape on his Face, Mick Ferry, Andrew Maxwell and Paul Foot. Catchphrase’s Roy Walker will be joined by son Phil for a special set for the third year of the festival. Jesterval director Della Haq said: “It gets more and more exciting for us every year, we look forward to it as much as the performers and the visitors.

“Comedy fans will be able to see some of the best comedy acts in the business from this iconic spot on the banks of the Tyne.

“Many of these shows will be previewing before heading up to the Edinburgh Festival, see them here in our backyard.”

Other shows during the festival will come from Patrick Monahan, Daniel Sloss, Kai Humphries, Seymour Mace, Nicola Mantalios-Lovett and Matt Reed.

For those who like their comedy totally unscripted, there’s the Improv Comedy All Stars show, featuring Steve Frost, Steve Steen, Andy Smart and Ian Coppinger.

There will also be family entertainment and kids shows.

•Tickets range from £3 to £13, with some free performances, at www.jesterval.co.uk