FAF promotions new material night in Sutton, a small room, with enough intimacy for the acts to work with the audience.
The compere was Jon Pearson who has already impressed with his stand up. He has good material and a good delivery, but his strongest attribute is presence. He seems extremely comfortable on stage and so it was always going to be interesting to see how he made out as compere, especially since Chris Norton Walker has set the bar high. The answer was extremely well. He homed in on the audience most likely to provide fun and atmosphere and made merry with them, without making the rest of the room feel left out, which isn’t always easy. He had a gem of an improvised family tree for them, which he worked up during an intermission and when this group got noisy during his between acts warm up, he did the square thing for the next act in restoring the atmosphere rather than just bringing on the comic. A commanding performance.
Opening Act was Tom King, who I’ve seen before. He was good then and he was good now. He did a spot of his established material to warm up, before doing some (new to me) material I hadn’t heard about the cannibal restaurant. This went down very well and suited the room, as he gave a chance for the audience to ask for items from the menu.
Chris Styles did a nice monologue with a dry delivery, which in his Doncaster accent worked well. It was a tad predictable in that you could guess how it would all end, but the enjoyment was in the getting there. He could perhaps benefit from seeing Peter Brush who is excellent at keeping the final destination of routines hidden and from more audience interaction.
Nicola James was pleasant, but seemed a bit underpowered. Her serial killer material was the highlight of her set and could be expanded, possibly becoming darker. I’d be interested in seeing her after she has had a few more gigs, as she didn’t have a bad night by any means, but didn’t seem to do as well as what she might have done.
After the first intermission Ian Seaburn performed. He had a good stage presence and delivery, but his material seemed a bit thin. I have a feeling he ran over schedule and could have tightened up his set, by knocking 5 minutes off and getting his material out in a shorter time, with more laughs per minute. He would benefit from setting his phone onto vibrate so he knows when he has finished, rather than to look at his watch, as he seemed to do this an awful lot. He has enough presence that with better material, he could have achieved more.
Next up was Alexander Jackson who had a good tight set, with a convincing delivery. At one point he seemed to forget the next part, but whether this was real or just a device – it got a lot of laughs – he had garnered enough good will from the audience to get away with it. He had a good night.
Danny Davies was polished, with a decent set and a very nice ad lib that went down well. He also had enough audience awareness to stop his set becoming a monologue.
In the final section, Sam Potter went first. Her set was a slow burner, with a confident delivery. It didn’t land many belly laughs, but was very amiable. A bit like a good episode of Last of the Summer Wine – no one injured themselves laughing, but everyone quietly enjoyed it.
Jared Shooter had a good night He’s got a lot of stage presence, is happy to interact with the audience and ad lib. He also has enough charm that if he’s going off on a tangent that isn’t working well, the audience don’t mind when he admits it and enjoys the fact he has done so. He has some great material, but would benefit from more of a natural ending to his set.
Headlining was Lee Kyle, who has an easy going personality. He held the room from the off, with plenty of references to jokes made about the room and check backs to Jon’s compering. None of his material missed the mark and he hit the room with a lot of energy, which is great for a closer. His set was quite fluid and one had the feeling he could have branched out in any direction he chose. He was a joy to watch.