Roadhouse – Russ Mulligan, Dotty Winters, Mr Andy, Rev King, Mike Lord, Stu Woodings, Martin Huburn, Hannah Silvester, Thomas Rackham and Rob Kemp (MC)

Tonight I was at my final visit to the Roadhouse Comedy​ night for a while, due to work. This is a venue I’m really keen on. I wish it wasn’t a 170 mile round trip, but this is a cracking place as you never know what you will get. The host tonight was Rob Kemp.

I like watching Kemp host, as not only does he run a tight ship on the time keeping side, he is also highly likeable and enthusiastic. Tonight he had a fun one. When he hit the odd misstep with the banter, he had enough charm to carry on through it, and truth told, the occasional misfires were all enjoyable, as he is so evidently enjoying life it’s churlish not to join in with him.

Russ Mulligan was trying new material. At first I thought he was taking off Harry Hill, due to his collar, but instead he gave us a self-deprecating set. He wasn’t helped by his voice being a tad unclear and I wasn’t sold on his material nor the persona he adopted. However, he got laughs from the room and these were consistent.

Dotty Winters was, like everyone else tonight, trying some new material. The stuff on toddlers and feminism was nice, but just seemed to lack that spark to take it beyond nice. The Homeopathy and Fibonacci jokes were both wonderful and deserved a lot better than they received. The cape provided a strong finish to what had been an enjoyable set.

Mr Andy opened after the first intermission. He made good use of his phone, but didn’t overdo it, as this could easily have strayed into gimmick. The section on his sense of smell was great and can be reworked an infinite number of ways. Mr Andy gave the room a clever set that hung together nicely with a few call backs and showed himself to be a comedian of talent.

Rev King, a character act, followed. This was a Cockney priest who added energy and livliness to the room. I thought his material was stronger in some places than others. I can imagine the good Rev going down very well in some locations, but perhaps not so well in all venues.  On balance it was a nice set and something a bit different with a nice running gag about names.

Mike Lord was the final act of the middle section. His set was well though out and ticked a number of boxes, but for some reason it didn’t seem to work that well in the room as one would have thought. Partly this was due to some of the topics chosen: Online dating and parent’s on facebook. Both of these are welltrodden areas and a routine on either of these has to be beyond excellent to stand out. It perhaps didn’t help that Lord acknowledged the misses with a touch of banter, he may have been better just carrying on. This was an unusual set, as it should have worked better, but just didn’t seem to on the night.

Stu Woodings opened the final section with a very short run out of some new material about zorbing and being non-confrontational. This was obviously a work in progress, but looks to have some nice potential in it. I’m looking forwards to seeing how he develops this idea.

Martin Huburn did new material about football and Frank Spencer. The room really liked the various movie characters played by Frank Spencer, although perhaps Taken was a movie too far. I enjoyed it, but feel it could be improved with a twist at the end.

Hannah Silvester closed the show with a mixture of old and new material. She has a fast delivery, almost gushing words at the audience. This style suits her material and works rather well. Her set covered a lot of ground, but the material hung together pretty well and she received nice laughs from a tired audience throughout. The questions asked by her kids were something of a highlight. She had a good night.

There is one more act who opened, but who I have saved for last on the grounds that he had an outstanding night: Mr Thomas Rackham. It’s not often that you see someone smash a new material night with actual new material, but tonight he did this. His notion of a new computer game received strong laughs, the part about Hitler and cuddly animals even better laughs, the reworked milky legs section now flows smoothly, but above all he has struck gold with a development of an insult to his hair. In this he slid into darker material, but used in this context, I think it is more likely to result in an applause break than offence. One of his lines was so good, i was still laughing at it when he began the next joke. The improvement in the 6 days since I last saw Rackham is remarkable. He now has stand out material to match his delivery. A true highlight of the night.

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