Freddy Quinne – Entfremdung (working title)

Quinne began with what he called the preamble and this translated to everyone else as him doing some very good room work, pointing out the oddities of the venue. This was instantly relatable to the audience and very swiftly established Quinne’s credentials as being not only a funny comedian, but more importantly worth a festival audience investing their attention in. This latter isn’t always a given when most of the room aren’t familiar with an act and have the best part of a hour to sit through on what may have just been a punt or a spur of the moment walk in.

This show is a work in progress, but despite some extremely new bits I don’t think anyone would have noticed that if it wasn’t for Quinne putting ticks against the jokes on his notepad. There was one fluffed punchline, but one out of so many isn’t the end of the world and there was more than enough goodwill for the audience to not mind that a bit. Interestingly women in the audience outnumbered chaps by three to one, which is an unusual comedy demographic. However, the material had plenty to offer both sexes. At the same time that the ladies behind me were giving laughs of recognition and telling their friends that they do that, the chaps sat in front of me would be bent over double laughing. It’s nice to see a joke hit home so well with everyone.

The writing was sharp, with some excellent routines. I was especially impressed with Quinne’s ideas concerning booking cheap holidays. This was a delightfully dark routine that was extremely funny and given the context one that should be inoffensive. I say should be, because Quinne took the trouble to ask the room if it was too much for them. A couple of people admitted that it was, which I was somewhat surprised at, because it was done tastefully and with enough self-awareness to rob it of any offence. At this point Quinne sportingly did give people a chance to leave, which I thought was rather decent of him, but I was glad when no one did, because they would have missed the rest of his show and that would have been a real shame.

There was a lot of stagecraft evident. Quinne spoke quickly, not too quickly, but fast enough that no one wanted to let their attention drift in case they missed something and this helped him build up a lot of impetus. I was very happy that he didn’t feel the need to explain what an oxymoron was – it’s pleasant to see a comic treat their audience as having some intelligence instead of spoon feeding them the reveals. This was one of those performances where I found myself grinning with anticipation during the set ups, enjoying the wait for the punchlines.

There were a couple of sections that would stand improvement, but in fairness, neither are major issues. The energy level dipped during the neck brace routine, but as this was a new bit, possibly being performed for the first time, that’s nothing to worry about. The other area is less clear cut and concerns a routine about Freddy’s sister. This was fun and had a great reveal, but the set up was an instance where I think everyone got the idea from the first line, yet paradoxically it was the detailed and time consuming set up that made the reveal work so well. It was good and everyone laughed, but given the time taken to set it up, could he have gotten three times the laughter for something else? Perhaps so, but I may be nitpicking slightly with this.

This was an hour that flew by. Sometimes an hour long show feels like an hour and occasionally it can feel like more, but this never came close to outstaying its welcome and I don’t think anyone would have objected if there had been more. It was extremely funny and the nice warm feeling that a great show imparts stayed with me all of the way home. I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed it, the rest of the audience seemed to feel the same way and it isn’t often that you see someone put a £20 note in a bucket collection. This is a cracking show.

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