Altitude – the journey so far!

What an incredible festival we have had and continue to have! We have been overwhelmed by the sheer quality of comedy and the reception of all you Altituders, and there’s still more to come! For all of those unfortunate enough not to be hear in the beautiful Austrian Alps, here is a brief recap of the week so far!

Monday

The Monday night kicked off with an eclectic and brilliant Impro Allstars show that included not only the stalwarts Andy Smart and Steve Frost but also newbies such as Eddie Izzard.

Bouncing off each other ten to the dozen, the jokes kept coming from thin air as the team took suggestions and stretched them beyond the realms of reason to a place of pure comedy.  What a rare treat it is to see the gang perform in such an intimate venue! When you can practically smell Mr Izzard, it certainly adds something to the atmosphere.

The Gala show began in fine form with festival curator Andrew Maxwell setting the tone and matching the surroundings in some very flattering lederhosen.  Marcus Brigstocke then took the stage with an amazing set which struck a chord with skiers and snowboarders alike. Brendon Burns followed with a fiery performance which the audience loved and confirmed his place in Austrian hearts.

Michael Mittermeier has been one of the undeniable stars of the festival and on this first night he kicked it off the piste!  His water-tight set was full of brilliantly self deprecating material that had the audience on his side from the off. An amazing performance that lead to a rush of tickets for his solo English show “German on Safari” the next day.

Finally taking to the stage riding a wave of expectation was Eddie Izzard, and he did not disappoint. He brought some of the material from his Force Majore tour and it was a wild ride in a the unique Izzard vessel, bringing the audience to complete hysterics.  An amazing night all round and a perfect way to officially kick the festival off in style.

Tuesday

Tuesday started with the brilliant Michael Mittermeier opening proceedings with his solo English show, “German on Safari”.  It was a wonderfully constructed hour that many native English speaking comics would struggle to come close to.

 Later came another Gala, this time hosted by the hype machine Craig Campbell, his mix of booming punchlines and relentless energy shook your diaphragm and tickled your ribs at the same time.  He welcomed onto the stage Benny Boot whose laconic delivery and beautifully crafted jokes went down a storm with audience, from him the baton was passed onto Phil Nichol whose highlights included a filthy rendition of his own song “Elvis Sucks” (I don’t want to ruin the punch line but it needs to be seen to believed). Daniel Sloss then hit the stage with a super tight and hilarious set.

Finally came Terry Alderton who is very much the darling of this festival. It was a mind altering subversive set that doubled back on itself in the same way that you’d imagine the universe to do at its end.  The audience didn’t know which way to look or which punch line to laugh at next as they came in such quick secession.  It came to a climax with the audience all rising to their feet to salute what had been a flawless performance and certainly a highlight of the festival thus far.

The late show that evening welcomed Altitude virgin Rob Beckett into the fold, along with Keith Farnan, Kai Humphries, Daniel Sloss and Brendon Burns all putting on stella performances.

Wednesday

Wednesday had Michael Mittermeier (whose stamina throughout Altitude has been undeniably impressive) out in his German one man show “Black Out”.  After a two and a half hour show even the Germans left in an orderly fashion and with a huge grin on their faces.

Later that day everyone’s favourite smoker Howard Marks performed his world renowned show Mr Nice to a group of boarders who were ready to relax after a long day on the slopes. The mellow vibes were soon shattered by the arrival of Barry Ashworth and MC Sir Real aka The Dub Pistols Soundsystem into the Arena. There was a special guest appearance from Terry Alderton, who took the mic and ran with it giving the audience a genuine rare treat of thumping bass and happy hardcore comedy all in one.  For the lucky few who were in attendance it was a night to remember, as the affectionately nicknamed Dubpistols 3000 (with new member MC Alderton) kicked it in lederhosen.

Another set list came and went in what seemed like no time as time Joel Dommett arguably dominated the random selection of topics he was given with the most amazing comedic ability.

Thursday

Then came what was arguably the main event, an incredible line-up as host Craig Campbell rightfully pointed out.  First on the bill we had a disgruntled Phill Jupitus, whose frustration at his 16 year-old daughter having “gentlemen callers” was something that struck a chord with a fair few of the parents in the room.  His anecdotes and harsh gags catered to every corner of the crowd as the room fell about.  He was followed by the superb Michael Mittermeier who proved once again that he’s not only the king of German comedy but the Prince of Altitude. Later, Andrew Maxwell as usual made it look all too easy as he charmed and cajoled the audience into hysterics.

After an already killer night of comedy, it came time to welcome the headliner of night. John Bishop swaggered onto the stage carrying his own stall,  because he said he was “knackered” as he had brought 12 of his mates over! He was on incredible form delighting the crowd and going further than anyone had expected by bringing an ease on stage and his infectious sense of humour that has made him the huge star he is. With the venue full to capacity, the crowd hung on every word and with such a relatively intimate setting for a huge star the atmosphere was electric. You couldn’t have heard a bomb drop over the sound of laughter that ricocheted throughout the Europahaus.  An incredible night of entertainment and one that would be hard to beat for the rest of the festival – but we’ll give it our best shot!

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Altitude – the journey so far!

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