Brighton Fringe Review: IT JUST SO HAPPENED: AN ALTERNATIVE HISTORY SHOW, Brighton Toy & Model Museum

The production ran on 2 June

By: Jun. 10, 2024
Brighton Fringe Review: IT JUST SO HAPPENED: AN ALTERNATIVE HISTORY SHOW, Brighton Toy & Model Museum
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Brighton Fringe Review: IT JUST SO HAPPENED: AN ALTERNATIVE HISTORY SHOW, Brighton Toy & Model Museum

“The start time is now history”

It Just So Happened: An Alternative History Show has a simple concept, as shown in the show’s description - “Three guest comedians/history buffs perform short stand-up sets based ‘on this day’ in history before exploring some possible alternative histories of Brighton people and events.”

The podcast is hosted by comedian Richard Pulsford, who is known for his award-winning puns and jokes. For this episode, he was joined by Chrissy Derbyshire, a storytelling comedian and co-host of the Baffled Old Women Watch Sports podcast, Julia Knight, a singer and comedian also known as “Jest Julia,” and Micky Gibbons, a doctor and actor who is a member of Forced Rhubarb. After introductions, as well as some information on the venue, the fascinating Brighton Toy and Model Museum, the first part of the podcast has each guest discuss a particular event in history that happened on the day of the recording, 2 June.

Derbyshire chose the 1740 birth of Marquis de Sade, AKA the “OG King of Smut.” It was fascinating to learn more about the man so notorious his name was the inspiration for the word “sadism,” made even better with some amusing and sarcastic comments from Derbyshire. 

Knight tells the audience about the Coronation of Elizabeth II in 1957, in which 40 separate pieces of music were commissioned, but none of the composers were women. In retaliation, Knight has written new lyrics to “All People That on Earth do Dwell” that focus on the contributions of women and the importance of representation. Fun fact - did you know two women were the ones who invented coronation chicken?

The final guest, Gibbons, tells the audience about the Battle of Santiago in 1962, which was not an actual battle fought in a war, but a World Cup match between Italy and Chile in Santiago, Chile. The first foul of the game was only twelve seconds in and the first send-off a mere eight minutes after the start! The highlight of the show is Gibbons, who brings most of the comedy through his quips and reactions. 

After a quiz presented by Pulsford about other events that have happened on 2 June in history (which includes a lengthy tangent on space burials), the second half of the show focuses on the history of Brighton (& Hove!). I particularly enjoyed hearing about the history of Brighton’s piers and the guests had fun with a few of the facts given to them. There was a very long section on Matilda Alice Powells, also known as Vesta Tilley, that went on for a bit longer than needed. 

It Just So Happened: An Alternative History Show is an interesting show, but it struggles to have the right mix of comedy and facts. I would have preferred a few more jokes than what we got during this recording, but that may be different for other recordings based on guests.

It Just So Happened: An Alternative History Show ran on 2 June at the Brighton Toy and Model Museum.




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