Adm Rodney (Southwell) – Alfie Moore, Ben Powell, Rahul Kohli and Markus Birdman

Tonight I was just down the road from home at the Funhouse gig in Southwell. This was a well attended gig, with scarcely an empty chair in the house. It was nice to see Ruby at her first ever gig, although she did sadly leave just before it began. Spiky Mike had a good night compering, showing great timing on Jones and getting two applause breaks in the first section. It didn’t take long for the room to be ready for our opening act.

Alfie Moore opened this gig and he is a solid reassuring presence on any bill. He began by discussing names and this contained something of a faux pas, as he asked Mike if they had a name for their baby yet, momentarily forgetting that Ruby is six weeks old. However, this didn’t derail his set and if anything added to the feeling that this was definitely live comedy. Performing his trademark lunges, Moore delivered a very nice set, that contained some wonderful lines such as switching off the Christmas lights, a pun about Jonathan Ross, murder weekend, tasering and a clever section on dogs. However, the highlight was The Head, which fully deserves capital letters. This is a fantastic routine and it closed off a very enjoyable set.

Ben Powell, whom I had last seen going through to the next round in an English Comedian of the Year heat, opened the middle section. He received an early applause break for Cameron, although I felt he could have gained from rotating slightly so that the entire room could see his face. This could be said about a lot of his delivery; the stage is in the middle of a rectangular room and Powell stood facing a quarter right for most of his set, predominantly delivering to the 70% of the audience sat down there. His material about farting was well received, although it did earn him a friendly shout out of ‘sad bastard’ from one chap, which although he commented on it, Powell didn’t really ad lib anything to top it and this was a bit of a missed opportunity. There was a list of silly things said by Redknapp, which had an air of Private Eye’s Colemanballs about it. This was still funny and was a nice lead into his final routine. This was a fun set that would have perhaps benefited from a little bit of audience interaction.

Rahul Kohli followed, getting an applause break for his opening line. His material concerned Newcastle, race, religion and politics and covered a lot of ground very quickly. It included a tongue twister of a Chinese name and had impressive touches, such as Panama and Clinton. This is a man who not only reads a lot of newspapers, but who can take quite detailed issues and get to the comedy nub very quickly. His new material about Trump was a rare miss, but I’m quite happy to believe his assertion that he only thought of it on the way to the gig. Kohli’s delivery is fast and has an enthusiasm that is infectious. He has a strong accent, but even speaking quickly is generally easy to follow, apart from when he was talking about the Middle East, where it momentarily became a bit lost in the flow. This was a very good set and it’s obvious that Kohli is very much a rising star.

The closing act was Markus Birdman who began by explaining what we could expect from his act. This contained a clever knob gag, which was a definite step above the majority of knob gags. He then very slightly blotted his copybook by becoming the third person to ask Chris what his name was, but in fairness this is an occupational hazard of being an headliner who is doubling up with opening at another gig. Birdman swiftly built up a lot of momentum and the room was behind him to a person, enjoying his performance. This was an intelligent set that was delivered with flair and some great facial expressions. Even topics that were unfamiliar to many people in the room were rendered relatable and accessible by his delivery. Birdman has a splendiferous voice. His diction is sonorous and I could probably listen to his voice all day. The end result of his great material and wonderful delivery was a lot of laughs. This was a superb performance.

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