Tonight it was Mickey Sharma and Steve Bugeja at Nottingham’s Canal House for their Edinburgh Preview shows. The format was Mickey first, then Steve, with an intermission, but no interval during the sets. The crowd was smaller than I’d have liked, but it was pleasant and well mannered.
Mickey opened and warmed up the room with a spot of banter. He wasn’t helped by two sets of late arrivals and the noise of crockery from the kitchen, but soon settled down. His material was sexually explicit to a degree, nothing too strong, but it did seem strange to hear explicit jokes before 9pm, with daylight still streaming into the building. I think this was a bit of a handicap to his set, as if he’d gone on later in a club, the same material would have gone down a treat. A lot of his set was good solid stuff and his attempted delivery joke didn’t get the laughter it really should have. The ‘and that’s how I ended on a register’ reveal is one that although Mickey only uses it the once, is a bit overused by comedians, in my opinion. It’s become a bit of a stock phrase, like ‘that’s just how I roll’. He referred to his notes a couple of times, as he checked his progress in a routine that he is still trying out, but this didn’t interfere with what was a fluent performance and one that I felt was funnier than the room gave him credit for.
Steve Bugeja was previewing his ‘Day Release’ show. He’s a pleasant chap who reminded me of a young Steve Punt. As an icebreaker, he opened with a list of facts about himself. These set the scene quite nicely for a very affable routine, that achieved the double of being both structured and meandering. His delivery is at a conversation pace, but this is wonderful, as it gives you time to savour the various meanders to the story he is telling. Whilst he is getting on with the main story, he also goes down a number of paths in setting various scenes and these really add to the feel of the show. He could have perhaps improved the vanished truck stop part by saying that if he had died following the advice his passenger gave, it would have been of gullibility, as this would have been a nice checkback to his earlier part. His set ran for 53 minutes, but never felt in danger of outstaying its’ welcome. It was a charming set that held the room nicely.
The next gigs at the Canal House are the £1 night on the 8th of July and then another Edinburgh preview, with star of tv and radio, Nathan Caton on the 15th of July.