Birmingham comedy venue Jongleurs – which closed six weeks ago – has been accused of ‘appalling mis-selling’ after continuing to advertise sold-out shows on its website.
The troubled chain is at the centre of a new controversy after Nottingham-based Momo Leisure, which operates the Jongleurs comedy brand under a licensing agreement, went bust.
The Jongleurs venue in Birmingham hit the rocks in mid-August when nightclub Bliss – which housed the comedy operation in its basement – shut down.
The Bliss website currently says: “This venue is now closed.”
But mystery surrounds the future of Jongleurs in Birmingham following the collapse of Momo Leisure hard on the heels of the closure of the Broad Street comedy venue.
The Jongleurs website is continuing to advertise shows in Birmingham, including James Redmond and Tony Hendriks on Friday October 4 and Rob Deering and Tony Hendriks on Saturday October 5. Both shows carry ‘sorry, sold out’ notices.
But Mark Tughan, chief executive of Birmingham’s Glee Club in the Arcadian Centre, said: “Every show that is not taking place, they have just been labelling them sold out. Personally, I think that is a scandal, and is complete and utter mis-selling.
“The venue is shut, Momo Leisure is bust, you only have a franchisor, should these people be selling tickets for anything? They have known for weeks and weeks that the venue is unlikely to re-open.
“Momo Leisure is now officially bust, and there is still no news of any re-opening. Such is the weird world of companies in administration, or the weird world of Jongleurs and how they treat customers.
“The August closure was the third time Jongleurs has shut in Birmingham.
"It started on Broad Street and then moved to Oceana in Hurst Street following a pre-pack administration of partner Regent Inns, but closed again in 2011 when it went into administration.”
Mark Tughan said Jongleurs had been a ‘pop-up’ club in Birmingham: “In someone else’s venue, and where the responsibility for food/drinks, venue issues and customer service is at best blurred.
“If you are a ‘big brand’ trying to trade in the city centre and trying to sell thousands rather than dozens of tickets (at city centre and weekend prices, as well as company Christmas nights out), then beware pop-ups, is what we say.
“Jongleurs has now opened and closed three times in Birmingham. Once is unfortunate, twice is hapless, three times is surely unacceptable. I do think it gets the entertainment business in town a bad name and surely rubs off on other clubs that are tarred by association. I think it is appalling.”
Anyone owed money by Momo Leisure has been given notice under the Insolvency Act that Birmingham-based corporate recovery specialist Rod Butcher of Butcher Woods has been appointed as insolvency practitioner.
A creditors’ meeting has been called for Friday, October 4.
David Elphick, sales and marketing director of Momo Leisure, told the Post in August that Jongleurs was seeking an alternative venue and were keen to reopen ‘as soon as possible.’
He blamed the closure on the shutdown of Bliss and described it as a ‘bolt from the blue.’
He could not be contacted for comment on the collapse of Momo. Administrator Rod Butcher was unavailable for comment.
The Post contacted the Jongleurs ticket hotline where a man who gave his name only as Craig said of the Birmingham ‘sold-out’ shows: “It’s to make sure that no bookings get taken for it. I do not know what is going on.”