There was a genuine buzz, as I took my seat in The Quays Theatre at The Lowry tonight, and no it wasn’t the speakers, it an expectant audience, ready for an evening of musical mirth with Ben Reynolds, Will Collier, Mark Brown, Joe Auckland, Ed Sheldrake and Alex Horne, aka The Horne Section. The quirky and cool jazz and soul music that was blaring through the speakers set the mood for tonight’s entertainment.

If you are a fan of BBC Radio 4 comedy, or have watched 8 out of 10 cats does countdown, then you may have encountered this quintet of comedy players and improvisers, led by Alex who “had the right name for the band”. They cleverly fuse together stand-up and song, improvisation and wordplay but all with fantastic musical and comedic timing.

However, their prowess doesn’t mean the evening is perfect, which brings a charm. Here we have six men having fun together with an audience.

They entered the stage wearing colourful boiler suits and Alex in some unexpected footwear (keep an eye on those in the second half). The band immediately strike up and Alex persuades, in his amiable way, two audience members to 1) play a kazoo and 2) be a mic stand! Behind the seemingly chaotic facade of Alex’s persona on stage, there was a very quick wit and an astute awareness of the funny moments that occurred in the flow of tonight’s show.

The highlights of tonight, and I promise to try and not give any spoilers, were special guest Henry the Hoover, the Reverse Conga of Jack and the bearded men, the original Macarena song along with a surprise ending, that wasn’t the ending! Being a fan of these men of melodic merriment, I had heard some of the songs before but there was a lot of new material to be enjoyed. This is comedy at its best; genuinely funny but just intellectual enough to make you feel smug that you understood the joke and at other times it’s just downright silly!

Special mention should be made of the audience members who helped us tonight: Steve on the kazoo; Jack who was late due to a slow waiter and who really wanted to conga; and band’s favourites Granny Linda and Daniel - who were liked in different ways by the people people!

If you enjoy good humour, wit and a bit of harmless fun, then you should definitely check out The Horne Section as they continue their tour until May 2018.

Reviewer: Alan Harbottle

Reviewed: 20th September 2017

North West End Rating: ★★★★