NCF, Sandiacre – Patrick Draper and Red Redmond (MC)

Tonight was going to be a busy night, as I was going to one gig, but cutting my attendance short to go to a birthday party and gig just down the road. The first gig of the night was the NCF comedy night in Sandiacre, a place I’d never been to before, but which wasn’t too far from home. This was one of those gigs that are massively under priced for the comedy on offer. The bill was Red Redmond (MC), Pat Draper, Jack Shanik, Ed Patrick and Barry Dodds. These are all talented people and the cost was just £2, which is a huge bargain for a nights’ entertainment. The venue was what may have started life as a church hall or mechanics institute, with a big room and high ceilings. The chandeliers and fairy lights gave it a bit of a surreal air. As is normal, the front row was empty and the second row sparsely populated. The 60 or so customers were actually adding extra chairs at the back of the room, themselves, rather than sit in what they thought was the firing line. The public definitely have a bizarre idea that they will be taken to pieces by the acts and this is a total fallacy. The only people I’ve ever seen get smashed by a comic are hecklers and then they are the sort who have spent the best part of an hour begging for it. Tonight’s MC was Red Redmond.

This was the first time I’ve seen Redmond, but I’d like to see more of him. From the off it was obvious that he wasn’t going to have a tough crowd to deal with. The audience were a very respectable sort, not given to causing trouble, but also one not that demonstrative, either. Red is a fairly local chap to Sandiacre, since moved to Manchester, but this was enough to give him a nice opening gambit. This was followed by a very good line about how the place scrubs up well, which landed nicely and then a bit of a stock description of Salford (which could have been any other rough area), which was no less funny for it. I enjoyed his well realised scene of a flat mate discussing drugs with him. In this, Redmond drew the scene out for a long time, but the length of the pauses are what really made it work so well; this was a small routine that built up the more he drew it out. Red did the rules, had a chat to a few audience members, gained a lot of laughs and pitched his compering at the right level for the crowd. He was low key and unthreatening, which I would say was spot on for this audience.

The opening act was Patrick Draper who possibly suffered from two things: going on first and the audience whilst obviously enjoying themselves, being undemonstrative of this fact. I’ve seen this a few times in rooms where the audience aren’t that used to comedy. It can be blatant that people are having a good time, but they get stiff upper lips and seem really reluctant to let themselves go. Odd, but true, lovely people who would give a very polite round of applause, but would then look askance at anyone making it obvious that they were loving the show. Draper began well and had some wonderful ad-libs that I liked. He did a spot of new material based on Prince’s death the day before, which had a bit of a stumble and he gained laughs for his comments on that. Following a swift recovery, he then moved on to the Humber Bridge routine, which always builds nicely, with the anticipation of the final reveal always being a joy for an audience. In this Draper gained good laughs for his breaking of the 4th wall. This was a fine performance.

After this an intermission was called and so I left to go to the party. A shame in a lot of ways, as this had the makings of a good night.

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