The picturesque Loddon Mill under snow
Tucked away opposite one of the most picturesque spots in Loddon, at the back of one of the villages most charming buildings, lies a truly fantastic gem of a project and something that really illustrates the quality that can come out of a community like this.
Loddon Mill Arts is an events company that hosts live music, comedy and arts from one of the most welcoming venues you could hope to find. And last Friday I went along to sample one of their comedy evenings, held in one of the steam engine rooms of the historic watermill at Loddon Mill. The event was ‘Halloween Comedy’ and it was one of the best evenings I have had for a tenner…
As you enter the Mill it feels less like an arts venue and more like the extension of somebody’s house… which to all intents and purposes it is. But more importantly, the homely welcoming feel is something that just pervades every corner of this beautiful historic building. The quaint bar feels more like a front room and, offering a selection of local beers, ciders, wines and soft drinks, is possibly the best way to settle into an evening of comedy.
The main performance area is a long thin room that seats 130 people, giving a heart-warmingly intimate feel to the evening. The stage stretches along the audience so wherever you sit you are close to the action and I have no doubt that the surroundings were the main reason for the friendly, relaxed atmosphere.
Ok ok, so I’m slightly overawed by the venue… but was the comedy any good? Yes… it was brilliant. Friday’s show consisted of three acts; Stan Stanley; Laura Carr; and Martin Davis; and was compered superbly by Craig Murray. Each act brought their own brand of stand up comedy to the stage and, more importantly, each act was very very funny. Murray warmed the audience brilliantly before Stanley and Carr confidently entertained in their own delightful styles.
Closing the evening was Martin Davis who deserves special credit as he stepped in late to cover Helmut who unfortunately had to pull out of the headlining slot due to illness. Davis produced a comic performance that had everyone in the audience in tears… in fact he went out of his way to make sure that every single person was laughing. Breaking free from any pre-structured script, Davis’ energetic and witty banter with the audience created an electrified atmosphere that could not have been funnier. Moving from one audience member to the next Davis’ quick quips served to produce an involved, considered, and hilarious performance. Perhaps a measure of just how good a comic he is is that my father said, hours later, that his face was still aching from laughing so much.
This is probably the most exciting thing about Loddon Mill Arts, the sheer quality of the acts that travel from all over the country (and in some cases, the world) to perform here on our doorsteps. The venue is lovely and welcoming and the acts are top notch. And for just £10 you’ll be hard pushed to find a reason not to go!
November 20th sees the Mill teaming up with The White Horse to provide a classical dinner and recital with award-winning pianist and composer David Earl, and the next evening of belly laughs is ‘Christmas Comedy’ on 17th December (I’ve already got my tickets!).
For more information, including forthcoming events and booking details, please visit the Loddon Mill Arts website… and whilst you are there have a read about the venue and the people behind the great entertainment.
Husband and wife team Andrew Walter and Katherine Howard have produced something really superb here. There are no criticisms to be seen in this community focussed project and with quality events taking place throughout the year Loddon Mill Arts is something that makes me proud to be writing about Loddon.
A massive thumbs up, accompanied by a hearty chuckle, from The Loddon Eye.