Bathroom Humour in Chiswick

Alex Horne brings successful show to Tabard Theatre

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Tabard Theatre, 2 Bath Road, London W4 1LW

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When Alex Horne used to visit his girlfriend in Chiswick, he little thought he would one day return as a successful stand-up comedian.

The Edinburgh Festival winner brings his zany ‘Seven Years in a Bathroom’ solo show to the Tabard on Monday ( March 5th) before it heads to the west end and back again to Chiswick at the end of April.

“ I’ve always thought Chiswick was a nice place, but of course my marriage to Rachel ended her life here so it’s great to revisit” he told in between unpacking boxes - he had moved house the previous day in Buckinghamshire.

‘Seven Years In The Bathroom’ has been described as "stat-based, fun-packed, experimental and sometimes stupid" and is a show in which he aims to recreate an entire life.

“ Well I love statistics and apparently we spend seven years of our lives in the bathroom so I created the show around that theme, hence the title” says Horne who won a Perrier Award nomination in 2003 .

In an average lifetime you'll spend two years shopping, two weeks kissing and eighteen months looking for lost things. You'll also spend quite a while eating, queuing, crying and googling yourself. The show is basically an invitation to come and laugh at your life

Originally from West Sussex, he studied Latin and Greek at Cambridge, resolved to become an investigative journalist, but somehow found himself drawn to satire and ended up writing comedy scripts before being discovered at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2000 with his show ‘How To Avoid Huge Ships’.

" I like it there because you can do experimental stuff. I use a lot of props on stage, for example in this show I will be using a microwave but nobody need worry, I know how to work it. I’ll also be using eight clocks- there’s a lot of clutter on the stage” he says.

Chiswick is well-known as a popular base for actors and performers. The late Tommy Cooper lived in W4 for many years, and well-known comedian and social satirist Darragh O’ Briain is also based here. Horne is a fan of both and feels that his own humour tends towards the quirkiness of Cooper.

" I wish I'd met Tommy Cooper, what a master. I love his silliness. Darragh is brilliant, in fact I think Irish comedians are great, I've just seen Tommy Tiernan and he's another of my favourites. "

He likes being on tour and " setting up his stall' in different venues but with two young children, and moving house ,“ from the bottom of a valley to the top “, it’s difficult to get the balance right, though he tries to travel home at night after a gig.

Despite their zaniness and eccentricity, he says his shows are “family friendly”.

“ I wouldn’t want to say anything on stage that would say, embarrass my parents if they were in the audience.”.

Surely that goes against the current trend for cutting-edge shows peppered with four-lettered words ?

" Yes, I know, I don’t swear in my performances and I don’t talk about sex. I just like to make people laugh”.

As a child he did not watch much comedy, though Monty Python was a favourite, and he still seems amazed that he ended up in his current career.

“I’m a middle son out of three boys and I suppose I wasn’t under the pressure of the eldest child to go into a responsible job, so my parents were always very supportive of me doing whatever I wanted to do career wise.”

His 2003 Edinburgh show, "Making Fish Laugh" was nominated for a Perrier newcomer award. In 2004 he won a Chortle Award for Best Breakthrough Act. His latest shows with Tim Key have been "Every Body Talks" and "When In Rome", both of which featured unusually extensive use of Microsoft PowerPoint

In the last year Alex starred in and co-created   BBC Four’s comedy quiz show  ‘ We Need Answers’   with Tim Key and Mark Watson,  filmed his own documentary ‘The Games that Time Forgot: Cricket on Horseback and Other Forgotten Sports’ for BBC Four and appeared on ‘Celebrity Mastermind.’ He is also regularly on Radio Three and Four, notably in ‘The Horne Section’, a programme that combines music, comedy and stories, which he presents with his five-piece jazz band .

In keeping with his obsession with the strange and wonderful, Alex Horne is currently trying to make a world record attempt to be the world’s oldest man and his attempts can be followed on the Innocent sponsored website:

One of his best-known escapades was’ The World in One City’ in 2006 where, along with Owen Powell, he aimed to prove London was the most cosmopolitan city in the world by meeting a citizen from every country. They tracked down people from 189 places, but are still looking for people from the Marshall Islands, Palau and Tuvalu. Perhaps he will find them when he comes to Chiswick!

Alex Horne appears at the Tabard Theatre on March 5th and April 30th.

Anne Flaherty

March 2, 2012