Suggestibles History

Potted history of the Suggestibles improv comedy group so far...

As seen in

The Times

Top 5 Comedy Nights Out in the North

(L-R) The Suggestibles circa 2017: Bev Fox, Ian McLaughlin, Carl Kennedy, Rachel Glover, Alex Ross and Tom Walton.

The troupe was officially born in the January blizzard of 2004, when a sizeable and beautiful audience trudged through deep snow to see their first Friday show at the Cumberland Arms. It’s been there home venue since then. Now on Saturday nights, they've played over 300 performances there. 

But the Suggestibles' roots go back a year earlier. Simply called Improv Night, founders Bev Fox and Ian McLaughlin gathered a bunch of funny actors (including Carl Kennedy who remains an original member) to put on monthly Sunday shows at Live Theatre  in 2003.

They moved briefly to the Bridge Hotel, before finding their home venue at the Cumberland, their name, and core line-up for several years to come, with: Mark Labrow, Gary Kitching and Richard Chance on piano (Bev’s brother), and later Christopher Price and Jayne Humphreys.

Still of Christopher Price in Pour Quoi 2006

(Left to Right) The Suggestibles 2005: 

Richard Chance, Christopher Price, Mark Labrow,

Carl Kennedy, Gary Kitching, Bev Fox, Ian McLaughlin

(Clockwise) The Suggestibles 2006:

Ian McLaughlin, Jayne Humphreys, Mark Labrow,

Carl Kennedy, Christopher Price, Gary Kitching, Bev Fox

It was in 2006 that the group made a comedy short for a giggle. Pour Quoi (a parody of Parkour) was an overnight hit on YouTube. It won a Royal Television Society Award and was so controversial it even got coverage in the New York Times!

Also in 2006 year found the group presenting a late night radio music and phone in show on NE1 FM and their first run of shows at Northern Stage with The Instant Musical, and then presented The Impro Pantso in 2007 which has played there every Xmas since. They had already been presenting the show at the Cumberland Arms since 2005, and firstly at Live Theatre in 2004. Now the Impro Pantso tours theatres across the North East such as Northern Stage, Gala Durham, Alnwick Playhouse, Arts Centre Washington, Hexham Queens Hall, and always ends the year at the Cumberland Amrs.

(Clockwise from front) The Suggestibles 2017:

Alex Ross, Bev Fox, Carl Kennedy, Ian McLaughlin,

Tom Walton, Rachel Glover

By 2009 The Suggestibles were resident at the Hyena Comedy Club until in 2011 they found their second home when the Stand Comedy Club opened in Newcastle, and they continue to play there monthly Thursdays.

In 2010 Alex Ross joined the team as their musician, Tom Walton joined in 2013 and Rachel Glover, most recently in 2014 to make up the current line-up with Bev, Ian and Carl.

"Being a Suggestible is like being in a band. People go off to make a solo album, then you find a great new player and a fresh sound." Bev Fox

In their 15 years they’ve had over 50 guests from the UK improv and comedy circuits, and played pretty much every main-stage in Newcastle-Gateshead, including the The Theatre Royal, Baltic and Sage. They get about the UK too, such as the Liverpool Everyman and Bristol Old Vic.

 

Back in 2005 they won a Shakespearean Improv Tournament at The Globe Theatre in London. Shall We Shog? was a unique show by the late maverick director Ken Campbell, commissioned for St. George’s Day and William Shakespeare’s 500th birthday party for a 1500 throng. It's a little known fact that prior to this date, The Globe actually had a roof, but the Suggestibles lifted it.