End of month recommendations for January
This has been an unbalanced month for comedy, with three quiet weeks and a busy final week. I was lucky enough to see Panel Beaters, which is one of the few shows that can be described as must see. These are the acts who have impressed me the most this month:
Bennett was a panellist on Panel Beaters and was excellent
From the night:
Scott Bennett is very talented with the gift for making his material relatable. Out of the panel he made the strongest showing. His material struck a chord with the audience and he had a great work rate. Bennett came out with some wonderful ad-libs and he did a lot to keep Sam Gore’s running joke about dog milk in the show. I think everyone enjoyed his eczema suffering miners joke. Bennett’s What gets his Goat was delivered at a cracking pace and it came from the heart, drawing a vivid picture just as much as it drew the audience in and this was a brilliant piece, as was the Northern Books section, which he had invested a lot of thought into. This was a fantastic performance.
Rob Mulholland as Death
This was another Panel Beaters performance.
From the night:
Death, played by Rob Mulholland, was the stand out performer. Mulholland was clearly having the time of his life and has taken to this role with gusto. This is a man who clearly relishes having a license to say the most dreadful sounding things imaginable. He began by explaining the concept behind the show and then proceeded to make a series of magical interjections, each one being as dark as midnight in a coal hole and extremely funny. His comments about a previous performance in a city that had been unhappy about being teased were great. The glass ceiling was inspired, as was the comment about excellent rail links to a certain Dutch tourist attraction. Mulholland’s comment upon selecting Sam Gore was very much in keeping with his role and whilst sounding outside of decency was absolutely hilarious.
This is a comedian who has an eclectic approach, he has material, plays instruments and sings, but he is at his strongest when getting the audience involved in his show. Gray has the ability to bring an entire room into his set and he’s a real crowd pleaser.
From the night:
Stevie Gray closed the night with an engaging high energy set that involved the audience and sent everyone out on a high. Gray wasn’t the original closer and had been intending to do new material, but owing to illness he had moved up the bill to cover. Unfortunately this meant that he wasn’t able to test out his new material and also that he hadn’t brought his guitar with him. Instead, he opted to do a song without a guitar, improvising it. To pull this off took confidence and stage presence and Gray managed this easily. He selected two people from the audience, one to play a pirate and another to play the Kazoo and he soon had the audience clapping away whilst he sang with Dave playing pirate and myself totally failing to get that damn kazoo to play a note. A kazoo is a simple instrument, there are no moving parts, you blow in one end, a noise comes out the other, it’s that simple. It’s idiot proof. Could I heck as like get it to make a single note. Gray tried and it sang beautifully. He passed it back to me and no, not a thing. Until the end, when I got one note out of it and even now I’m totally in the dark as to how I managed to achieve that. No matter, Gray managed to get good laughs from his material and had some cracking ad-libs regarding my efforts. This was a very good set, with Gray showing himself to be a real audience pleaser.
Stachini has a lot of talent. His writing is good, is delivery is sound and it’s obvious that he’s got a future as a pro act.
From the night:
The opening act was the up and coming Harry Stachini, whom I have tipped as a comedian likely to have a good progressive year. He very quickly got the night off to a flying start. His material is very strong and he delivers it with great skill and timing – this is a man who will before long be earning his living through comedy. His description of his mum was very funny and had a belter of a twist to it. The only thing that I felt he missed from this all too short a set was when describing having an uncle in Nagasaki and this possible missing element is only down to his being under 35. Any comedian over 35 wouldn’t have been able to resist saying that they had an uncle called Kendo in Nagasaki. This is no reflection on Stachini’s set and it probably says more about my age. This was a very strong set.
Alan Hudson, Andy Gleeks, Dom Holland, Dan Triscott, Billy Lowther, David Smith, Anthony King, Sam Gore