“ Hurst Street, Birmingham. Tel: +44(0)121 693 2248.Shows: Start around 9.00 and there are 2 intervals. Comedy over around 11.30-11.45. Disco to 1.00 a.m Fri & 1.45 a.m Sat „
Established - 1787
HQ - Birmingham
Main Room seats - 350
URL - www.glee.co.uk
Amidst this election storm that ends on 6th May; businesses are continuing to make ends meet in all our cities. The evidence in the high street is marred with deep scarring of the desolate premises, littered with tonnes of ripped cornered cardboard, all in preparation for a mythical giant Guinea Pig to make a nest. By walking through major cities, seeing the aftermath of what has been an unprecedented time of switching off 'life support machines,' for once thriving businesses; the UK public deserve a light-hearted place to go, where 'life is worth enjoying for once.' A place where you're entertained, laugh at life sorrows and jubilations; perhaps experience the uncomfortable rib ache of over laughter and wet underwear; when uncontrollable expressions spills beverages that in-turn make you laugh with yet more robust vigour. The Glee Club arena's certainly is a place for escapism.
For an establishment that started in 1787 at Harrow School; I assume during the lunch hours, and Rupert Everett wasn't dressed up as a school head-mistress. Its longevity proves that the human psyche craves amusement relief as much as Birmingham city centre dreams of 'non polluted air.' My visit to The Glee Head Quarters, wasn't a men only club that Harrow School provided the male population with; at least they had somewhere to go when the love of your life bans you from the monthly visit to the shed in the garden. Though, surely younger school-boys shouldn't necessary know of the trials of what the adult male has to endure in 1787. I guess early members of 'The Glee Club' had no other options than park their bums on miniature wooden chairs and start amusing one another. Reading between the lines, a school is the last place a hard working lady would look for her husband; especially Harrow, where politicians learned the art of deception.
I must admit, I found Marcus Brigstocke an English comedian and satirist performance of a supply teacher, dressed up in a beige corduroy suite and faded red socks, amusing to the point that Brigstocke must of spent many hours observing the supply teacher instead of burying his head in the text-books while at Harrow or in a Bristol comprehensive to make such a relevant performance piece that stood out from the crowd. I half expected Rupert Everett to peer through the exit door checking on 'us,' his pupils. (St Trinians the musical has performed in The Glee Clubs) - I'm sure there must have been some odd scenes down old Hurst Street in Birmingham as entertainers' perform their skit.
Carefully situated near Birmingham New Street near the train station, The Glee Club; has a noticeable ambiance that gives 'power to the audience,' and seeing your own reflection in sequin frocks and polished bald heads is a big positive. The Glee Club's audience participation ethos captivates imaginations and enriches the performance. The problem is if the performance is weak it shows up in The Glee Club like a 'ginger Englishman on a beech in California.' You can smell their fear when inexperience performers skittle out of the back-room. - But usually that disappears as soon as the well rehearsed skit gets into the second minute, which is on average when the first real laughter bellows out from the audience. The bar stops serving as a mark of respect even when it is separate to the performance area where the entertainers droll out their hilarious one-liners or irrelevant patter, depending on whom you're siding with and what night you go on. I prefer a bar man who is slightly conscious to take your order, in my experience I'd obviously gone to the wrong end as my bar man was mimicking the Hungry Hippo game, sadly without the plastic balls (now that would be fun) and with extra sound effects, that brought New Street train station that bit too close for comfort.
Glee has nothing to do with the E4 hit show, though since the show started many anecdotes from cheap performers no doubt would've made that comparison and researched the show in making that 'ice-breaker' walk-in moment - "Is this where I come to audition for the E4 show?" - Try not to get in late to view a Glee Club skit as you would inevitably be behind a pillar and neck straining to get any visual contact with the four foot midget performance, and you will miss the punch-lines start having a real hatred over pillars, tall people, and hats. You can guarantee some-one will be wearing a turban or using far too much airspace with pointless head-gear. I'm sure they're planters for the entertainer to pick out and be bemused over for forty five minutes. Any attractions in the audience like a vivid Christmas jumper knitted by an Aunt will be pulled to pieces by the four foot midget. Please leave these attires at home. Every time I plonk myself down in The Glee Club the public have to wear these atrocities.
"Ah I see that you picked up a road kill on the way here madam. Or are you Lady Gaga, I don't know, it's all the same to me."
Glee is certainly intimate; it is designed this way to draw out hilarity. I remember a memorable act that made mince-meat out of the British Gas Customer support team. The anecdote described how impossible it is to get straight to a customer support member and even stated your number twenty six in the queue, this was several years ago, so you may of heard this before. The performer then gave a piece of advice to the audience that made me wriggle with 'glee.' - First of all, don't pay the bill, whatever it is refrain from paying it. Wait till British Gas calls you and say that they're call is important to us and that they're number sixteen in the queue, say nothing for ten seconds and then say, your call is important to us, and that they're number eighteen in the queue. Just to get your own back. The American stand-up comedian picked on the irony of British corporations customer support behaviour. It tickled me, and the clever skit eclipsed many other acts that I've seen thereafter.
The Glee Club is a major part of the stand-up circuit and though many professionals perform in the US nearly all performers want to go to 'Glee.' They feel that the ultimate 'Glee' experience is to hit the heights of the entertainment spectrum; that is from ridicule to euphoria, all by being part of 'Glee.' - Marcus Brigstocke has been on the circuit for many years, he doesn't do it for the money, but for the pure enjoyment of working with a live audience. He claims it is the best way to test new material, and is allowed to wear beige corduroys, without getting ripped apart. He has a corduroy fetish.
Fantastic acts and talents such as Shappi Khorsandi, is currently on the 'Glee' circuit. She is a 'Radio 4' comedy regular and has been on Graham Norton's TV Show. - Her depiction and experiences regarding her faith is worth a view for £16.00 per person, she is worth the admin charge alone, and you'll get several fillers before the main talent, who'll pick at your funny bone, regardless where you've hidden it. If you like sticky carpets, black box venues that smell of old man's 'Y' fronts , 'The Glee Club' is not for you. I can recommend the 'Conservative Club' down the road.
The Glee Club is, as the name suggests, a comedy club, with a venue in Birmingham which I have attended on a number on occasions. However, I tend to go music and burlesque events here, as the Glee Club does not only show comedy but music too. Here's my verdict on some important areas:
Choice of nights - Excellent! You can see comedy of all kinds, and music from all genres, but my favourite nights to go on are the Burlesque Nights, with Candy Box Burlesque. Here you have a cheeky mix of burlesque dancing (think Dita Von Teese), the resident dance troupe Candied Heels, a guest comedy act and a live band - the Palookaville Burlesque Orcestra. Absolutely brilliant! They actually seem to attract quite a good class of comedian and musician, maybe ones who aren't quite big enough for the NEC/NIA yet but still well known.
The Venue space - Very small and intimate, which I love. You tend to be able to talk to the performers after the show, and even in the back seats you feel ever so close. However seating is chairs arranged on the floor and aren't tiered, so you do get to see rows of heads in your way if you're stuck at the back.
Acoustics - not brilliant. The small space is not intended for music, and even though the intimate setting is enjoyable for the audience, it is not such a positive experience for artists. My mum and I saw Martyn Joseph here a while ago, but when we met him at a recent event and asked him to return, he told us how bad he'd found the acoustics and sound. What a shame!
Toilets - Very good, large and enough room, there's not too bad a queue for the ladies in the interval and they always seem to be clean.
Drinks - Good choice of wines, beers and soft drinks. Can be expensive on peak nights - when my friend and I went to a Burlesque night in August, it cost £15 for a bottle of rose. Eek!
Food -The Glee Club serves food, from chips to full meals to eat while watching the show or before. I've only ever tried the chips so can't really comment on the quality of the food as whole, but it seems to be served quickly, hot, and the chips were decent!
Note - the Glee club is an 18-plus venue, so even if they're not drinking under 18s cannot watch any shows put on at the venue. They are quite stringent on ID so take note anyone who was planning on taking their brother/sister/daughter/son along to a gig.
At work we do like having a good laugh and as our bosses think they are very funny and to be honest they are most of the time, we do have a laugh daily at work. As a little motivation we get to go out once a month if we hit certain targets so what we decided to do was go to the Glee Club in Birmingham for an night out. We had such a good time that we are currently planning going again at some point and to be honest it is one of those things that you can go to, truly relax at and basically not worry about money as it will not actually cost that much. So enjoy my review and hopefully I will make you all want to go to the Glee Club.
What is the Glee Club?
The Glee Club is basically a comedy club in the centre of Birmingham. It is renowned for its very stylish, relaxed, modern and funky atmosphere. The best comedians in the country do come to the Glee Club and there is actually two in the UK with the other being situated in Cardiff. And yes it is one of those places that you go to, watch some comedy, have something to eat and drink and then if you like have a dance at eth end of the night.
How to Find the Glee Club:
If you go onto the internet and type in www.glee.co.uk you will be taken to the website where you can find all of the details including booking online and information about which comedy acts are on and when. For those who havent got th internet I will put the Birmingham address here for you.
1st Floor The Arcadian
The Area and First Appearances:
The Glee Club is situated in the Arcadian which is a buzzing and vibrant part of the city centre. Depending on which way you walk there you will see lots of restaurants and cafes one way and then you will be able to see the Hippodrome theatre from the other way so as you can imagine there are always lots of people around. Very conveniently the Glee club is located right in the city centre so it is literally a five / ten minute walk from all public transport areas and there is also a taxi rank very close by.
First appearances of the building the Glee Club is in is that it looks quite quiet. The building is nice and very clean with the words Glee written all over the outside so you can make no mistake on where you are going. Then when you walk into the building you will be asked to pay for your tickets or if you have pre-ordered then you can just show them your booking confirmation here.
When you have got your tickets you can go on straight upstairs which takes you to the main comedy room where you will see the stage, the bar and the toilets. Everything is very neat and tidy and modern looking with the tables all a very nice bright colour just to draw more attention to the audience and the whole room is quite dark giving it quite a scary feel but its all good.
The prices vary on the different nights so on a Thursday night they are £8.00 for an adult and £5.50 for a student. On a Friday night it is £12.50 for an adult and £6.50 for a student. Then on a Saturday it is £14.50 per person.
On a Thursday you can have the option of getting food from the buffet which we did and it was really nice with a lot of choice. The price for this is £10.95 per person.
They have a great selection of drinks including your normal beers and wines but then they have cocktails and lots of spirits so take your pick. The prices are not too bad as it cost me about £3.00 a glass of wine and my archers and lemonade cost about the same. The drinks are given to you in plastic glasses so you do not have to worry about glass all over the floor so that is really fantastic.
When we went we had the buffet option on the Thursday and there was choices of vegetarian pasta, chicken wings and legs, chilli, chips, pitta bread and dip and a selection of salads and sauces. I was quite impressed with what they had and there was somebody serving you. If you dont have the buffet the actual menu boasts some impressive meals including goats cheese salad and mussels. There are of course the normal things such as steak, burgers and side orders of chips too.
Seating and Stage:
The stage is in a spotlight for the duration of the night and the seats are quite close together but still giving you enough room to move freely. Wherever you are sitting you should get a view of the stage because it is so high up and clear in the spotlight. The seats bend around the stage so you dont even have to sort of lean to see. The only thing I will warn you about is that they are not very comfortable so be aware of that as they are quite hard-backed.
I loved it that the toilets were spotless and there were plenty of them and they were all fully stocked with toilet paper which was nice.
Well the main reason for going to a comedy club is to see the comedy and here at the Glee Club there is a lot to keep you entertained. There are usually three acts on stage with intervals between them all. They last for about half an hour each. There is also a man who comes and introduces the acts who was hilarious when we went and keeps you entertained throughout.
The type of comedy you find at this club is very different and should cater to everybody at some point during the night. We had one person who liked to talk about sex, one who liked to talk about politics and one who liked to talk about issues such as kids leaving home and killing your wife off. All three of them were funny but of course for me I did not find all of the jokes funny but then I didnt walk in there expecting to as everybody has different senses of humour.
The acts will stand up on the stage and use the microphone to address everybody. At the Glee club it is the same as every comedy club and you do have to worry about being picked on as you probably will. Luckily we managed to escape but the people sitting at the front were not so lucky and got picked on all night. Although you are sitting down for a couple of hours to watch the comedy you will notice that the time goes very quickly indeed.
When the Comedy is Over:
After the comedy acts, there will be an announcement that there will be a disco so you will have to vacate the room for a short while as tables and chairs are packed away. You are not allowed to take your drinks with you so you will have to drink up before you leave the room which can be a little annoying. W did not stay for the so called disco but my work colleague told me that they play a good mix of music and you can request tracks. The dance floor is huge and the bar remains open so you can carry on drinking.
I do think it is worth mentioning though that if you dont want to stay in the Glee Club then because of its location there are lots of other places you can go and visit including bars, clubs, eateries and even strip clubs (for men and for women) which are all nearby so you dont have to stay in one place.
We all had a very good night and one that we got lots of pictures for and one that we will remember for a long time and that even now although it has been three weeks we are still talking about. We were lucky as we had three brilliant comedians but it was refreshing to go to a comedy club and be able to see the comedians perfectly and not have your view obscured by other people. I enjoyed the intimacy of the club and I think the dark atmosphere with the modern interior really makes it seem like a fun and funky place to visit.
I have been to other comedy clubs in Birmingham but I prefer Glee because I think they get more established comedians to go than the others. The comedians have usually been on tour and what I did was call up Glee before we went and asked what the comedians were like and the people there gave me a good idea of what to expect. When you are in Glee the staff are helpful and because it is a good comedy night you do not have to spend loads of money so get your ticket and a drink and that is really all you have to spend.
What I will say about the club is that you can just relax, have fun and basically really enjoy a night out with a fantastic atmosphere.
In conclusion I am going to give the Glee Club in Birmingham five stars out of five because it is just fantastic and well worth going to if you are ever in the area. If you go you are practically guaranteed to have fun and you will end up going home attempting to repeat jokes that have been said and not being able to remember them all. Why is it that when you try to retell the jokes they just arent funny? Anyway I think everybody should go and give Glee a go.
Thanks for reading.
“Laughter is the best medicine”, someone once said. This has little to do with the Glee Club, since no-one is ill, but laughter is certainly the name of the game. The Glee Club is a top class comedy club located in the heart of Birmingham, on Hurst Street. This is it’s first advantage, as it is only a few minutes walk from Birmingham New Street Station, very handy indeed. If you like stand-up, then this is the place for you, with a minimum of 3 acts per night, the best in the country, with acts such as Jasper Carrott and Jack Dee having visited in the past. The prices are reasonable (especially for students), with superb beer deals (good prices on pitchers). There is some tasty food to boot, like chips and nachos, as well as larger meals like balti and curry to help get you through the night. The interior is comfortable with chairs and tables, and excellent jazzy music between comedians. The Glee Club offers the complete night out, and I guarantee you will have the time of your life while you’re there.