Comedy festival at Harpenden Public Halls

THE first Harpenden Comedy Festival, which runs for a fortnight, gets underway this Saturday.

It is being held at Harpenden Public Halls where a host of comedians and acts will take to the stage to preview their Edinburgh Festival 2012 shows.

The festival begins with The Dambusters Ball on Saturday, a forties-themed night with a 17 piece Big Band, comedy from the legendary Barry Cryer and Ronnie Golden, live wartime acts and various surprises.

On Sunday (17) Jo Caulfield arrives with her show Cruel To Be Kind. A regular on top panel shows Mock The Week and Have I Got News For You and star of Radio 4’s critically acclaimed It’s That Jo Caulfield Again, she is one of the top female comics on the circuit.

So Comedy Live on Monday, June 18, brings together three of the hottest talents in the UK today, Hal Cruttenden, Zoe Lyons and Lloyd Griffiths for a night of stand-up and previews.

Jessica Fostekew with her gag-suffused show about etymology and brave new words and Andrew Bird with his Global Village Fete hit the stage next Wednesday, June 20,

Then the stars of BBC1’s The Magicians and winners of the World Magic Awards: Best Comedy Illusions, Barry and Stuart, will be appearing in Show and Tell next Friday, June 22.

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Last year’s pantomime stars Big Howard Little Howard return to the Public Halls on Saturday, June 23, for Little Howard’s Big Show, featuring songs, sketches, magic, a cheeky pigeon from Barnsley, a brand-new invisible character, The Royal Monkey Philharmonic Orchestra and a large frying pan.

Their visit is swiftly followed that evening by the first in a series of Edinburgh Previews featuring Grainne McGuire and Matt Forde, both of whom write and perform for radio and television most notably on 8 out of 10 Cats and Stand up for the Week.

Sunday, June 24, marks the return of another old favourite as Richard Herring previews his Edinburgh 2012 show alongside his new wife Catie Wilkins. Herring is one of the UK’s most prolific comedians and has enjoyed phenomenal success as a writer and performer.

Edinburgh stalwart Simon Evans tries out new material on Monday, June 25, supported by Marlon Davis with his show Enter The Davism.

Jigsaw return on Wednesday, June 27, accompanied by Peacock and Gamble, with Rob Deering presenting The Rob Deering Experience on Thursday, June 28.

The festival closes on Saturday, June 30, with Andy and Mike’s Big Box of Bananas, when a magical and mysterious box appears in the duo’s ‘fun pad’.

Tickets for the festival are available from the box office on 01582 767525 or visit where full listings and online booking are available.