Mark Steel was in town last night to perform his stand up comedy show all about Alderley Edge and Wilmslow.
The show was recorded at The Green Room theatre for the second series of “Mark Steel’s in Town” which is produced for Radio 4 and sees the comedian visit six towns, or a pair in this case, to celebrate the uniqueness of each one.
An audience of 86 locals packed the small theatre to hear the comedian’s take on their home town. Mark warmed up with some general observations about the “avalanche of sameness which is being deposited everywhere”, with every town featuring the same shops, a Wetherspoon’s pub and "the biggest evil of all Tesco, which is like bindweed springing up everywhere."
The actual broadcast began with Mark describing Wilmslow as by far the most upmarket place they have visited, which probably has a waiting list to get in to and bouncers on every street turning people away who aren’t wearing the right labels or driving a luxury car.
The first thing he noticed upon arriving in Wilmslow was the Aston Martin garage, along with 5000 beauty salons, designer handbags and expensive art - making it “the Knightsbridge of the North.”
Mark made several trips to the area recently in order to conduct his research, meet local people and explore the local history, though the majority of last night’s jokes focused on stereotypes. As expected footballers, mansions with so many rooms they have to invent purposes for them, and charity shops with designer labels and no price tags featured heavily.
Mark described Alderley Edge as “posher than Mayfair” and a bit “cockier” than Wilmslow - “Diana Ross compared with the Supremes.”
Our village certainly isn't amongst Mark’s favourite places, he was pretty negative about it but then I suppose a socialist and Alderley Edge aren’t the best fit. Though he did like Foster’s Fish & Chip Shop "where for a moment you can imagine you are somewhere normal", the Union Club and his trip up the Edge, which he described as marvellous, adventurous and “the sort of place you might come across a hobgoblin.”
Alderley Edge resident and writer John Wallace performed a poem he had written about some colourful newcomers to Alderley before Mark thanked the audience and concluded by admitting this was “probably the rudest I’ve ever been about any town.”
It was an enjoyable evening, with some very funny gags but a large part of the material focused on the champagne lifestyle so often portrayed in the media. It was predictable and didn't really get across what a great place Alderley Edge is to live with some very warm, interesting and even a few "normal" people but I suppose that wouldn't make for good comedy.
Mark Steel’s In Town (Wilmslow & Alderley Edge) will be broadcast on Radio 4 on Wednesday April 14th.