About Witty Ditties: 400 Years of Comic Song

Following on from their acclaimed show A Brief History of Music, GreenMatthews bring you a new show which explores our rich history of witty wordplay and melodic mirth.

Chris Green (piano, guitar, accordion) and Sophie Matthews (early woodwinds, flute, saxophone) bring you four centuries of chromatic comedy, ranging from bawdy Restoration ballads to stinging Sixties satire via Victorian music hall variety. Featuring songs by Noël Coward, Tom Lehrer, Flanders and Swann and a host of other lesserknown songwriters, this fun and fast-moving revue will have you rolling in the aisles!

5 Stars


- English Dance and Song

5 Stars


- Bill Barclay, Director of Music at Shakespeare’s Globe

In the last programme in the series of Ian Hislop's Oldest Jokes, Ian joins Chris Green and Sophie Matthews in their shed in Coventry, where they leaf through and perform from a 17th century collection, one of the first in existence, of comic songs.

Pills to Purge Melancholy was the work of Thomas Durfay and is rich in Double Entendre, drinking songs, in fact all the genres that Ian has covered in this series. But in this iteration they're all coupled to song. It's unlikely that this kind of comic device was new, but there's no record of deliberately minted comic song that pre-dates this printed collection. Why comic songs work, how they survive over time, and what we might learn from Mr Durfay's collection brings Ian's series to a close.

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