Blessington Carriage – Marc Jennings, Allan Lindsay, Donna Scott, Freddie Farrell, Rik Carranza and Sean Percival

Tonight I was at the Blessington Carriage in Derby for the Funhouse comedy night. In addition to Brent and Helen, it was nice to see comedians Gina Overton and Nick ‘not Egyptian’ Mellors there to support the night. Spiky Mike was full of energy, almost bursting with the stuff, as he took to the stage to warm the room up. Mike had a great time with a student teacher from Derby University and his Filipino partner and this was all the better for the fact that the chap he was speaking to had a great sense of humour.

Marc Jennings

Jennings had what was perhaps the hardest job of the night: opening the show. However, this was no impediment to what was an excellent set. He has a strong Scottish accent, but speaks with crystal clear diction, which made it very easy to follow what he was saying. Unusually, Jennings hardly seemed to blink, which gave his delivery added force and certainly the entire room were listening to him. He began with a solid opening joke and then his set blossomed with some very powerful material coming into play. Stood down was a great premise, the driving instructor was good and drink driving was a fantastic line – one where he would have benefited from leaving more time for the laughter break. I’ve heard a fair few routines about working in a call centre (Wozniak has a very good routine on this) and it was highly gratifying to hear something that felt fresh and was also incredibly funny. The callback to close was the cherry on top of an excellent set.

Allan Lindsay

Lindsay had a tricky job in following Jennings and I didn’t really enjoy the first half of his set. Initially he was stood so that he was facing ¾ of the audience, all but ignoring the ¼ on the right hand side of the room, although this did improve as he went on. I thought that the Trump/Clinton material was a bit last season and the reveals from the American section a bit predictable. However, when it came to discussing driving a cab in Glasgow, Lindsay’s set took off in a big way. There were probably five times more laughs for this than the rest of his set combined. This section was great and a joy to hear. Lindsay has skill and with a rethink of his earlier routines he will be a stronger act.

Donna Scott

Scott left me with mixed feelings. On the one hand, her performance skills were good. She certainly held the room and managed to engage well with the audience. On the other hand, her material wasn’t especially strong and bits, such as Guy Fawkes were predictable, as was the rule of three coming into play on Star Trek. The poems, which almost verged on anti-comedy, were nice and each one got applause. I’d like to see Scott again in a year or so, with different material, as tonight the room enjoyed her far more than I did.

Freddie Farrell

Farrell had a good night, looking relaxed whilst he gave the room short routines in a performance that always seemed to be moving and building towards a climax. This was a set that gained a lot of momentum without Farrell having to speak quickly, act dramatically or do anything other than deliver solid material. I was impressed with him knowing the local crap town and using that within his set and this went down wonderfully with the audience as did the topper supplied by Mike. This was a very enjoyable set and also one that seemed smoother than the last time I had seen him.

Rik Carranza

I only saw Carranza last week, where he had done well at a gig in Alfreton. Tonight he continued that good work, building upon what I had seen previously. He utilised callbacks to Scott’s set and took full advantage of there being a Filipino sat on the front row. Both of these gave an air of immediacy to his set and there was a lot of laughter and a few applause breaks. Carranza’s set felt like it had come to a natural end with peanuts, but he wisely didn’t leave the audience with that and carried on with what was almost an epilogue to his set – the quick tale of a bus journey, which provided a more upbeat closing routine. This was another good show from a comedian who is clearly on a roll.

Sean Percival

Headlining was Sean Percival who continued his 100% record of smashing every room I’ve seen him perform in. He went down a treat and had most of the room doubled up with laughter. It was nice to see some updated sections and little changes here and there, but after having seen him a number of times, I’d love to see him expand his repertoire.

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