Last night I was at the Gate Inn, located in Sutton Cum Lound and most definitely not in Retford itself. I was over there for the Funhouse comedy night, which had sold out a fortnight before the gig. This is one of those shows that take place in a well appointed country pub in front of an audience who are really up for the evening, even if a few at the bar and in the tap room side were given to chatter. In fact, the room could be described as being a touch on the lively side, not being afraid to shout out, but very polite about it when they did so and a boon for any act who enjoys a bit of audience interaction. Spiky Mike had fun chatting to the audience and there can’t be many comperes who find themselves talking to people who rent out muck spreaders for a living.
I’d only ever seen O’Sullivan compere prior to this and as I had been impressed with the intelligence he brought to that role, I knew that watching him do a set would be good fun. From the off it was plain that he’d been paying attention during Mike’s MC work and he hit the stage fully aware of who was whom, where they were sat and what they did for a living, which gave an added spring to his set. O’Sullivan’s material was lapped up by the audience, especially when it became apparent that there was both a Jock and a Welshman present. It was wonderful watching him working the room, as he fielded the odd shout out, proving himself to be far wittier and faster than anyone else he spoke to. His put downs and comments when he was bantering were all on the inoffensive side, which kept the atmosphere light and they worked a treat. I found O’Sullivan’s manner of speaking to be very interesting; he has a beautifully clear voice and speaks in a well enunciated clipped fashion and his short sentences really added to his performance. This was a great set and the audience were sorry to see him go.
Teckman is a nice guy and a good comedian who perhaps could do with pushing himself forwards more when it comes to pursuing opportunities to gig. Last night he initially had a somewhat slower response from the audience than I was expecting, but this was just due to the room taking a little bit of time to settle. After the first few minutes he went from strength to strength and built up no end of momentum so that by the time he reached the climax of his set the laughter was rolling back and forth very nicely indeed. Teckman doesn’t swear much so when he does it adds a nice extra touch to the point he is making. A lot of his material is self-deprecating and given how he uses his appearance for material, it is also easily relatable for the audience. I always enjoy seeing Teckman in action and last night was no exception. He gave the room a thoroughly enjoyable 20 minutes.
The last time I’d seen Lopez had been at a tricky weekend club gig in Nottingham, where numbers had been far below critical mass and it had seemed that the audience had all agreed to stay miserable for the entire show. That night, Lopez had done very well under the circumstance to squeeze a good amount of laughter out of them. Last night, though, was a totally different gig; with a room chock-full of people who were there to laugh, albeit with a tipping point approaching, especially with the talkative group near the bar. Prior to this set, Mike had been busy tipping Ignacio off to what had been said by the previous acts and alerting him to the presence of the Welsh chap in the audience and this paid a beautiful dividend when Lopez worked him into his set and got loads of laughter for it. This was a very well written set and this skill went beyond the actual jokes – a great deal of thought had gone into the construction of this set. There was a feeling of coherency to it, as a lot of it was linked and there were plenty of callbacks, which is something I adore. Ignacio’s delivery had bags of charm and he’s helped in this by his accent. It always caught me by surprise when he went from a Spanish accent straight into a Welsh one without taking a breath, when discussing aspects of Welsh culture and I found this very endearing (it also reminded me slightly of Julio Geordio). I was a bit surprised that he didn’t close on his song about holidaying Brits, as this would have made for a fantastic closing routine. This was a great set and provided a superb finish to what had been a most enjoyable night.