FAF promotions night at El Rosso in Mansfield. This is a nice light and airy venue, with a cultured crowd. It’s a friendly gig, where a bad heckle would be seen as bad form by the audience. On lights and sound was Stoney, who added a lot of attention to detail and professionalism to this side of things.
The compere was Andrew Ryan, whom Stoney had commented pre-gig about his being good. He wasn’t wrong. He struck a bit of a goldmine when he discovered that half the audience were staff members on their night off, a bonanza which he mined for the benefit of the room. He walked the line between teasing people and maximising the comedy from them. After the intermission he used material, rather than working the room and this was well received. He had one slip, which is an occupational hazard of compering – he momentarily forgot the name of the headliner, but even with this he got the most from the situation. He had a good night.
First act was Rich Morton, a musical act. He had a bit of a slow start. This was down to the rooms’ ethos – it’s a room where the audience don’t seem to get involved much and unfortunately a lot of his act involved audience interaction. This did hurt his reception, but in a more responsive room I can imagine him being a good strong act. Towards the end, he was getting the interaction and this made a world of difference.
The headliner was Jim Tavare. He’s done a lot of telly work, but was new to me. He’s got a mature set that is well thought out, but he’s flexible enough to do gags relating to material used by the compere and also by the first act. He had a fantastic night, mixing gags, musical gags and prop comedy seamlessly. In his dry delivery style, he reminded me a touch of Patrick Draper. Tavare is the kind of act that would storm it at any venue from miners’ welfares to closing in Glee. He has an inventiveness that I’ve only ever seen matched by the boy with tape on his face.