This has been an excellent month for comedy. I’ve seen performances ranging from Tom Wrigglesworth’s one man show through to some very good open mic nights. In total I’ve seen 49 acts this month. These are the comedians who have impressed me the most this month, not including those who I’ve highlighted in recent months, such as Bennett and Brush, etc
Page is a comedian who seems to have something for everyone. He has a superb delivery and the sort of material that will make any memoir he writes a fantastic read.
From the night:
The opening act was Nick Page, who I’ve seen twice before and who was excellent each time. Tonight he made it a hat trick. He began with a small routine based around Schrodinger’s Cat, which contained not only impeccable logic, but was also a unique opening to a show. This was followed by Page explaining his approach to comedy, listing what he didn’t do. This was almost anti-comedy, but which was pushed along nicely by his quick illustrations of some of the things he wasn’t going to do. Page received his first applause break for his notions of how Scotland could be treated regarding their referendum. His comments about festival wrist bands were thoroughly enjoyable, the more so because the promoter is a fan of these. His section on planning permission was great, as was his joke about eugenics and perhaps more so as it went over a few people’s heads. None of Page’s routines failed to land and his remarks about parcel force were a particular joy. He built up such a strong picture of his travails, that it was easy to picture him in a depot 22 miles from home. Page got into his flow and moved quickly, delivering his material with the sort of intensity that made it compulsive listening for the audience. This wasn’t a set where people were looking at their phones, instead everyone was focussed upon the stage. This was an excellent set and Page is a comedian who I hope to see a lot more of.
This was a full show and was massively entertaining as well as that bit different.
From the night:
With the stage decked out like a crime scene, Moore began with some statistics. There is a one in a thousand chance of being murdered in Blighty. These odds seem fairly reassuring; however, Moore quickly punctured any sense that we may live to make investing in a lengthy box set worthwhile by pointing out the odds of Leicester winning the premiership. A very timely reference, indeed. This was followed by a quick search to see if there were any other officers of the law present. This resulted in three coming forwards. An ex policeman, a transport cop and a chap who outed himself as being in Special Branch, which gave Moore plenty of scope to raise laughs. Following this, the format of the night was explained. A murder would be committed by a member of the audience and there was a prize on offer in the shape of a rosette. This entailed a need for volunteers to play a murderer, their victim and a detective. It’s nice when a show is interactive like this, it helps the audience buy into the concept and seems to provide a lively atmosphere.
This framework gave Moore ample scope to include lots of anecdotes and facts that were related to murder. Some of my personal favourites were his account of how he resolved a murder mystery night, a great piece about Henry VIII and his wives, a brilliant true story of his encounter with a less than thoughtful chap who was carrying a huge plasma telly and the difference between American cops and HM Constabulary, when it came to surrendering ownership of an unexplained stiff. All of these were individually great pieces of material and the cumulative effect was very impressive. The laughs were consistent and flowed easily. Moore did refer to his notes a couple of times during his performance, but as this is a new show, this is very much to be expected. Again, as with most new shows, there was a technical hitch with a bit of IT. This occurred during the top 5 murder towns countdown, with the music (At the sign of the swinging cymbal) cutting out at the worst moment. However, the laugh that Moore received to his reaction to this technological treachery was very loud and did make me momentarily wonder if he had stumbled across this by accident and decided to keep it in his set. After the performance had finished, Moore stood by the door, shaking hands and thanking people for coming. This was a very pleasant and human touch and was much appreciated by the audience. This was a lovely show that is something nicely different and I’m rather hoping that he takes it up to Edinburgh.
This was a brilliant performance that simply took the roof of the gig.
From the night:
The closing act was Dan Nightingale. I’ve seen Nightingale a couple of times before and I know he’s good. I think we all know he’s good. However, tonight he was what I can only describe as brilliant. He was the sort of good that made me wonder why on earth he isn’t better known outside the comedy circuit. He hit the ground running from the off, with various routines, all of which he delivered with dynamism and spot on timing. Almost everything hit home to a huge laugh. Nightingale generated bags of momentum, received applause breaks, had the other comedian’s laughing their heads off and just simply blew the roof off of the place. He did do a routine after what might have been considered the natural end of the set. However, this still got laughs and was funny. This was a stand out performance from someone who is a true technician of comedy.
Green is comedian who I think should be able to go a long way in the industry. I must confess that I’d never heard of him until this gig and that’s surprising. He is the sort of person who should be on more people’s radar.
From the night:
The final act of the middle section was Thomas Green, who through some mystical process, managed in the time it took him to walk to the stage and grasp the microphone, to look like he was a professional who knew exactly what he was about. This may have been a confidence thing on his part, but I’m more inclined to put it down to the fact that he is very good and has a comedian’s instinct and this is what I and presumably the rest of the room were sensing. His set seemed to cover a lot of areas without either getting bogged down or making them feel inconsequential, which is a neat trick to be able to pull off. His set was very well written and it seemed to have a natural flow to it, with no jarring leaps. Despite being new to the area, he was sharp enough to know that the local rivals are Derby and to throw in a reference to sheep for the additional laugh. This was impressive and naturally went down very well. Green delivers his material with assurance and I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially his closing with a call back, which always seems to wrap things up nicely. I believe Green is certain to move up the comedy ranks quickly.
White is a bit of an odd act, combining the strengths of a well observed character piece, but with more appeal. He easily avoids becoming a one note tune through the sheer strength of his material.
From the night:
The next act was Karl White, whose persona combines the charisma and voice of Nora Batty’s husband, Wally from Last of the Summer Wine. He plays it as a down to earth Yorkshireman, with limited horizons and reference points, using very little energy whilst he does so. Most acts try to make a big impact, White was deliberately the opposite. To do this and hold a room requires skill and to do it well requires very good writing. White had both a great paced delivery, that was totally in keeping with his persona and very well written material that kept the room’s attention. His tale of a visit to a lady was both funny and original, using totally believable phrases, and was delivered to big laughs from the audience. I enjoyed his leap from one topic to another, his use of a magnifying glass and the perfectly in character ending to his set. This was understated, but very cleverly done.
Kohli was a very nice surprise. I especially enjoyed the intelligence behind his material and the fact that I had to think a bit about what he was saying made it all the better.
From the night:
Rahul Kohli had an excellent night. He began by asking the audience to give a round of applause to the first two acts. This is not something I’m that keen on, as I find that it just takes time up that can be used more productively. Kohli then launched into what was easily the set of the night. He used the fact that Stevie Gray carries a bag onto the stage as a way of not only introducing a nice line, but also to make it feel very much of the now and in fairness, it is possible that the applause was just a roundabout way of setting this up. From here we received a set that combined bang up to date topical references to some very astute political observations in a routine that reminded me of John Scott for its’ political incisiveness. This set was very well crafted and extremely funny. The Nandos joke was great and although it was something of a pull back and reveal, it was a genuine surprise when considered in the context of the rest of the set. His use of a ‘volunteer’ to help explain consent was very good as was his explanation of the rise of Isis through premiership football. This was a set that was extraordinarily good. I am rather hoping he is doing Edinburgh this year, as I would like to see a lot more of this comedian.
Pritchard is perhaps an unusual act for me to highlight, as musical comedy isn’t something that I particularly enjoy. However, she is very talented and despite her style not being my cup of tea, there is no denying that she is a star of the future.
From the night:
We resumed after the intermission with Katie Pritchard, a musical act. I have to confess that I’m not a huge fan of musical acts. Music and songs are something I take little interest in and whilst the artist can be very good, the format just isn’t my cup of tea. However, whilst I may not be keen on the genre, that doesn’t mean that no one else enjoys them. A fact that was made clear by both of the musical acts on tonight’s bill. Pritchard began by enquiring about why are lettuces wrapped in plastic. Initially this sounded like an impression of someone pointing out a bad observational routine, but instead it swiftly led into her first song, all about lettuce and brassicas to the sound of ‘All the single ladies’. This went down very well with the audience and she received a lot of applause. The next song referenced Pritchard not being the tallest lady in the world, to the sound of ‘Let it go’ and again this resulted in a lot of laughs and applause. The final song was a Hip Opera, which might have been a bit too modern for the audience, but which was still appreciated all the same. Pritchard’s set was impressive for her creativity, the bags of charm with which she delivers it and also for how much the audience enjoyed it. Personally, I’d have preferred more in the way of material between the songs. Pritchard had a good night and left a nice warm impression.