Canal House – Ellie Pollard, Paul B Edwards, Rory Jones, Gary John, Eric Rushton, Doug Carter, Scott Bennett and Matt Young (MC)

Tonight I was at Canal House for the NCF £1 night, which continues to go from strength to strength. There was a large crowd of enthusiastic comedy fans present and some very strong acts on the bill.

Matt Young (MC)

Young was an interesting compere. He veered from spending too little time on stage at the top, to too much in the middle. He opened with what was basically admin and then followed this up with a bit of talk about the unseasonably hot weather, which he briefly tried to compare to a teenager and then he brought on the first act to a cold audience. Usually acts will talk to members of the audience, find out useful facts for the acts to do callbacks to, build up a feeling of a shared event or make people laugh. Young managed to avoid all of those in the first section. For the middle he spent perhaps fifteen minutes on stage, but the more he spoke the colder the room felt and the less enthusiastic the audience became. If Young was to take a totally fresh approach and chat to members of the audience, find things out about them, have something funny to say either in response or as material, then he would do better.

Ellie Pollard

Sheffield based Pollard came on to what was a cold room and succeeded in quickly building up some energy. The joke about her dad’s business was good, as was the later callback to it. The bad puns about grapes went down well, but I wasn’t too sure about the dog routine – it seemed one step too surreal all of a sudden to really carry everyone. However, there is definitely something there in that routine. Pollard did well (especially going on first to a cold room), received laughs and with a bit more experience she’ll do fine.

Paul B Edwards

Edwards had a great night. He has strong comedic instincts and he took to the stage full of energy and enthusiasm. His delivery was engaging and he worked the front two rows hard, bringing everyone into his performance incredibly quickly. He spoke about Zebras and Giant Bees, both of which have been in the news this last week and was very funny with it all. Whilst his set wasn’t as concise as others, there was a joy in watching this free flowing performance.

Rory Jones

Jones continues to improve both his material and his performance. Tonight he quickly got into a lovely rhythm of telling a joke and then everyone laughing. I did think that he perhaps paused for the audience to laugh just a beat too long and this allowed the room to partially reset itself with concurrent loss of momentum, but that’s a minor point. With the exception of the Frodo gag, Jones got laughs for everything. Out of nowhere was a particularly powerful joke that got a huge laugh. Bud Lite had a great reveal, but the set up might be improved. If Rory could close with an actual amnesia based joke as a concluding callback, then I can imagine it taking the roof off. It’s nice to see him improve like this.

Gary John

John was the second act in a row to use one-liners and upon discovering this fact I did wonder if it would hurt his performance. However, he took a different approach to Jones and structured his set so as his story was told through a series of gags. This worked pretty well, giving him a creditable hit rate. Unfortunately the meat of the material involved giving a sperm sample and this has been covered by a few other comedians and so it didn’t feel as fresh as it might have done. However, the jokes were good and John delivered it with an energy that had everyone listening. This was a good performance.

Eric Rushton

Rushton continues to impress. He is unique thinker and his material is highly original, employing a lot of misdirection and intelligent reveals (perhaps was a very clever piece of material). Rushton is also a very engaging performer who speaks directly to audience members as he switches between low and high status. In short, there was a heck of a lot to like in this performance and he didn’t put a foot wrong, although I did prefer it when he didn’t explain why he had a stuffed tiger with him. I think that leaving it unexplained is possibly better in the long run as it adds an air of mystery to this talented act.

Doug Carter

With his great presence and relaxed, but confident delivery, Carter had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand almost as soon as he picked the mic up. Tonight I saw some material that was new to me. The talk about addiction was powerful and he had everyone going in the wrong direction with it. The big reveal possibly suffered a touch from a woman talking across it (offering her congratulations just as Carter spoke), but it still worked very well. The joke about one of the greatest mysteries of the modern world was superb. I was especially pleased with plopscotch, which was a very vivid, yet accurate description. The timing on bear cash was nailed down to a tee and it was lovely to see him receive applause for the new c-bomb. Carter is a great performer whom audiences go with in a big way. He is a very eloquent performer and he’s going to go far.

Scott Bennett

Headlining was Scott Bennett, an act whom I’m constantly amazed isn’t a household name. Even when just talking about things he’s thought of that day he was razor sharp. His comedic instincts are honed to a fine degree. The names he chose for a couple of middle class people whom you wouldn’t want to know were just right to evoke the image he wanted to implant in the audience’s minds. The same could be said of Komodo Dragon – this was far enough out there to be totally unexpected, but not that far to break the immersion in a set that is so grounded in relatability. As ever, Bennett was magnificent. How much longer can it be before he comes to the attention of the nation?

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Ofton Funny – Sam Moult, Lisa Vernon, Hannah Millard, Judith Critchley, William Collishaw, Damon Conlan, Paul Mutagejja and Tommy Wager (MC)

Tonight I was back in Alfreton for Ofton Funny, which has the nicest and most supportive comedy audience that I have ever seen. Their default setting is that every act is fantastic and it’s nice to see an audience so up for live comedy. This was a night that was sold out, which was great, as was the presence of Nick Mellors. The room itself would benefit from some spot lights directed at the stage area, as having the house lights on gave it an odd feel, but on the plus side, this meant that the acts could see and talk to anyone that they wished. It would perhaps have been beneficial if most of the acts had been sat at the back of the room instead of the front (I think they were chatting there pre show and these were soon the only free seats), as it limited the pool of people at the front to just those on the left. This is a lovely night and it’s a cracking gig for comedians to play.

Tommy Wager (MC)

A very dapper Wager began compering as a character act, Inspector Harry Horner, who was there to investigate a murder. This was a fun sketch and the room got really into it, especially ‘Cyril’ sat on the front row, who was an asset to the show – he’d shout out something usable, but not that often to get in the way of the actual comics. The Edwardian Dirty Harry was a clever idea. It’s nice to see Tommy keep it fresh by exploring avenues such as this. He then did the rules and we were underway.

Sam Moult

Moult had a very good night. Rather than do pre-planned material, he mostly improvised for ten minutes and this turned out nicely. Being able to see everyone in the room was a real advantage to him as he chatted to audience members and worked the room. The key part of his set was Moult using his skill with accents and challenging people to name an accent and something for him to do a joke about in that accent. This could have been tricky, but he got a lot of laughs from it all, even making a strength out of a tendency for some accents to eventually morph into Scouse, which made for a logical callback to end on. Moult seemed to have a lot more energy and presence than when I’ve seen him previously and this was an enjoyable performance.

Lisa Vernon

Vernon was the first of a few very new acts on the bill. She’s a Goth and a fair bit of her material is based around this fact, although to begin with, she spoke about the village in which she grew up. The Minerva material led into Vernon talking about her ex and this bit in particular felt less like comedy and more like she was getting something out of her system. Opening Christmas presents that contain sex toys in front of parents has been done a couple of times, but Vernon got laughs for it. The strongest lines concerned Emos – these were very good. However, bringing a huge knife (picture something that even Jason Voorhees would reject as being OTT) into a venue for a callback probably wasn’t worth the hassle. Vernon received consistent laughs and the audience liked her.

Hannah Millard

Millard was the second of the new acts. She began by announcing how happy she was to be engaged and her excitement was palpable. This fed into a routine about her wedding day plans, mostly a list of questionable photo opportunities. As Millard is a wedding photographer this had the air of being things that she’d come across at work over the last few years and was now making use of. As a topic, I felt it outstayed its welcome very quickly, but Millard is a bright and bubbly person and her personality carried the set rather than the material itself. She received good laughs. However, if she were to combine different material with her happy stage presence, then she would do better.

Judith Critchley

Critchley gave the room a set that was largely autobiographical in nature and she covered a lot of ground, but without really pausing to go into any one area in depth. I enjoyed the joke about her mum’s career, which nicely teed up Critchley’s own career, but much of the rest of it seemed to pass by without ever going deep enough to make you feel that invested in any one particular area, be it anxiety, medical conditions, online dating and so on. Critchley certainly has the basis of something, but may benefit from concentrating upon fewer topics and getting more from them.

William Collishaw

Collishaw had a wonderful stillness about how he stood on stage at the top of his set and this worked very well with his deadpan opening. The hat gag was nicely visual, but I thought that he might have gotten a little bit more out of it for the effort invested in the set up, as it seemed to be over really quickly. Everyone enjoyed lookalikes, but I felt that chubby dating was a lot more unique and thought that there was perhaps more he could have said about that – this is a topic that I think has some mileage in it. The one-liner was very nice, but instead of being teed up, might have gotten an even bigger laugh if it had been delivered as an off the cuff non-sequitur. The set piece of the mugging was very entertaining and it was nice to see him finish on a callback. Collishaw has improved since I last saw him and is going in the right direction. With a bit more thought about his material I can imagine him doing very well.

Damon Conlan

It’s always nice to see comedy magicians on bills, as they bring a wonderful level of variety to a show. Conlan began well with a nice misdirection joke and followed that up with some very smooth rope tricks. However, the mainstay of his set involved giving his pet a name. This was sat on a stool at the back of the stage and was invisible to anyone not sat at the front (if he had lifted him up for people to see, this would have helped). The meat of this routine involved Conlan asking members of the audience to suggest a letter and then he got a volunteer to come up to the stage and officially name the pet. The eventual magic trick itself was very adeptly done, but there wasn’t a lot of comedy in the set up or the naming ceremony. All of this just served as a vehicle for the trick, but it all ate up a heck of a lot of time and from a comedy perspective this was mostly a dead loss. If Conlan were to either work in more that was funny into the set up, or find a way to make the trick itself funny, rather than just magic, it would provide a more satisfying closing routine.

Paul Mutagejja

Mutagejja began well with some on-point room observations and added a lot of energy to proceedings. The knowingly bad puns about Newton got laughs, but I felt that he could have done better. Miming sexual conduct near an audience member can work really well and Mutagejja read the room and realised it would work and in fairness, it did, but it’s not something I’m that keen on, personally. The identity of the heckler in Lincoln was pretty guessable and it would be nice to see comics mix it up a bit and it not be one of their parents who are insulting them at a home town gig. The songs were a nice touch, Siemens was a lovely line, Lil-lets was solid and the racist march worked extremely well. Mutagejja is a talented comedian and he went down excellently with the audience, but after not having seen him for a year or so, I was hoping for more from him.

The Little Last Laugh – Sully O’Sullivan, Harry Stachini, Wouter Mejis, Steve Titley, Scott Bennett and Nina Gilligan (MC)

Tonight I was up in Sheffield at The Lescar for the Little Last Laugh, which is a beauty of a comedy night. The fair sized room filled up very quickly and it wasn’t long before the acts had to give up their seats for audience members and after that, it was standing room only. Despite it being warm with all of the people present, the atmosphere was as good as ever.

Nina Gilligan (MC)

Gilligan came to the stage looking happy, but with some steel under the smile. She utilised her past career as a teacher to keep the room in check and this was a nice touch, especially when people asked ‘miss’ if they could go to the toilet. Against that, I could have done without hearing ‘it’s your own time you’re wasting,’ as it’s an overused line, but in fairness, it did fit in well with the persona that Gilligan had adopted. The people she spoke to were a mixed bunch, with a Phd student studying ageing being the standout. There was a beautiful moment when Nina asked him to guess her age, forgetting that she’d just announced her age 2 minutes previously, only twigging on when he guessed it straight away. Last week when she was compering The Lescar she had taken love as a theme, even getting people involved in a game of blind date and that sounded really nice. Tonight, the theme was getting to know people and if an act is regularly compering a venue, then things like this help to keep it fresh. There were some very nice touches, such as finding volunteers willing for her to go through their bags or phone browser histories. Although this did eat up a bit of time, it worked fantastically in getting everyone onboard. The only slip that she had was in not announcing how many acts there were in the first section. Usually there is one, but tonight there were two and because the audience are used to the one and then a break, a lot of people got up to go to the toilet and Gilligan found herself having to fill time before enough people had come back to enable the show to resume without too many returning interruptions. This was more bad luck than anything else, as the rest of her compering was very enjoyable, being fun, light-hearted and bringing people into the show.

Sully O’Sullivan

Sully is a solid act that I don’t seem to see that often. He’s also a highly skilled compere and this came through very strongly in his set. He began with a couple of fast observations about the room that were instantly funny and this established his comedic credentials within the first 20 seconds. He also looked sharp as if he was ready for anything that the audience had to say and that nothing would faze him. This came to the fore when towards the latter part of his set he was talking about insults and in response to a question, received two answers simultaneously. He took them in turn, dealing with each one, getting laughs and keeping everything easily within his control. O’Sullivan talked a little bit about colonialism and by coincidence a month or so ago another act had discussed that in The Lescar, but where it then had felt like we were being lectured for the sins of the past upper classes, Sully’s was totally different in tone and a lot funnier. This was a well delivered and funny set that got the night off to a strong start.

Harry Stachini

Stachini was present to run out some new material and it was a pleasure to see him. He looked confident and his delivery seemed to be smoother than when I last watched him. The material itself was all new to me, although I did wonder if he chose to finish on a bit of established material as the missing girlfriend was so good it had the feel of a regular routine. Of the other routines, his relationship with his girlfriend was good, especially when it came to the pet rabbits, although I wasn’t so sure about the tired line, as that seemed to jar a little with his happy and upbeat character. The greatest line in what was a good set was about his partner’s reaction if he were to ever be on life support. There was a lot of good stuff in this short set.

Wouter Mejis

The Dutch Mejis had a very good night. He’s a tall chap and opened by referencing this fact, which earned him some big laughs from the off, especially for his height in English. From here he moved on to talking about trains, tying this material into the audience by asking a few people where they were from. Mejis is an intelligent act, well able to think on his feet and construct a callback, which was impressive. Perhaps the greatest ad-lib in his set was when he pretended to be from Leeds and to also be shorter than he was – this was very funny and was superb in context. The closing routine about the train ticket was one that built up very nicely and there were cries of disappointment when he announced that it was the end of his set.

Steve Titley

Wolverhampton born Titley had a couple of advantages for this gig. He had spent his student days in Sheffield and there was a lady sat near the front from Wolverhampton. Both of these were used as lead ins to material, which should have made them feel more relevant. However, a lot of his talk about protesting against Thatcher and his support for the Miners when he was a student was lost on audience members under forty. Whilst not quite the same, his material about it being acceptable to take the piss out of people with a West Midlands accent, was something that has been said a few times and so for a different reason, this didn’t quite hit home as it may have done. With the topics he spoke about there wasn’t a lot that people hadn’t heard someone else do a routine about and if he were to cover some less discussed things, then he would do better. Although Titley looked plausible and had good presence a lot of the funny was lost amongst the amount of words he used and if he were to edit down his set it would be an advantage. His actual delivery, extra words aside, was good and with a bit more work regarding the material he will be much improved.

Scott Bennett

The headliner was Scott Bennett, one of the most consistently superb acts that I see. Tonight he went on a bit later than planned to a warm audience and he still went down an absolute treat. People sat near me were slapping their thighs and were doubled over laughing. In a shrewd move, Bennett emphasised his father’s Yorkshireness in the early parts of his set and this hit home hard in Sheffield. From here he mixed in newer material with the more established pieces seamlessly in a set that flowed extremely well. The material is all honed to perfection and Bennett delivers it brilliantly, laying the emphasis on just the right word in a sentence to get the greatest impact. This was a fantastic set.

The Blessington Carriage – Stevie Gray, Steve Rimmer, George Zach and Scott Gibson

Tonight I was at the Blessington Carriage for the Funhouse comedy night. There was a huge audience there to see the show, which was wonderful. It’s not a massive room, so when you get big numbers the atmosphere is great. Spiky Mike had a good night chatting to a product designer, an aspirant musical performer and above all, Ted and his partner. These two had been together for a lot of years and Ted proved himself to be very quick witted in his responses to Mike’s questions. Before long, everyone was ready for our opening act.

Stevie Gray

Gray is one of the people I like to see most on the comedy circuit. He’s friendly, funny and always manages to brighten rooms up just by being there. Audiences instinctively seem to realise that he hasn’t got a bad bone in his body. Tonight he took to the stage full of beans and regaled the room with some true (properly true) stories of things that have occurred in his life. These are all good fun stories. I think that a few could be tweaked a bit for added comic effect, such as catching the ending of a film, or the big name actually taking part in the quiz, but it’s entirely possible that altering them will hurt the rhythm of delivery and their essential authenticity. The new routine about the birth of his son was full of charm and had some great lines in it. This was an upbeat set that left the room in a happy mood.

Stevie Gray is doing is show in Leicester next week:

https://comedy-festival.co.uk/event/stevie-gray-arctic-monkeys-midlife-crisis/

Steve Rimmer

Rimmer does a fair bit of compering and it showed tonight on a few occasions when he added to the energy in the room by asking for people to give a cheer if. This worked in building energy, but I did think that he could have used the time to get more material out. The material itself was pretty good. Rimmer is the only bomb disposal comedian in the country and although this was mentioned tonight, he showed variety in his approach by doing jokes about a tough gig (very good), bands on arms (the rubber gag was nice), being well built, a steam room (this didn’t get everyone onboard), swimming with dolphins and above all washing powder. He hit a real roll on that topic and hoovered up a lot of laughs for it. There was a moment when Steve spoke to a largish chap and acted the beta male to him and this was a bit odd as Rimmer looks like he wouldn’t be out of place in a Viking shield wall, so that didn’t quite ring as true as it might. This was an entertaining set that got some good laughs.

George Zach

I last saw Zach a year or so ago and he’s come on very nicely in that time. His Greek accent gives him a really interesting intonation and this adds a lot to what is already a polished delivery. Zach doesn’t raise his voice. He’s very quietly spoken and whilst he’s not a quick fire gag machine, the laughs come consistently and they are powerful. He spoke about daytime telly, which was good, but when he moved onto funerals he moved into a higher gear and there were some huge laughs. When discussing Countdown, Zach was the recipient of a question from Mike and after demonstrating the inaccuracy of his spelling, George received a lot of applause. The routine about the cleaner from Doncaster was strong, but it would have been better if the cleaner had come from the local shit town of wherever he is gigging, as this would add extra emphasis. The routine about heroic firsts was interesting, but didn’t quite grab me as much as the rest of Zach’s material. This was an impressive performance.

Scott Gibson

Gibson began very well with some observations about the room and he got some fast laughs for this. He then moved onto talking about how Fat lives matter. This was solid material that everyone was with him for – he received applause for the doctor’s visit. Organ donation and couple of other jokes were a bit too dark for the room, though. However, strangling was a great routine. The standout material, and this formed the bulk of his set, concerned giving a stool sample. Whilst this wasn’t as tightly written as some routines, there was a lot of enjoyment in following Gibson’s vivid descriptions and painstaking detail of the best way to do this. This was a very well thought out routine. Gibson’s delivery was warm, but forceful and he would raise his voice to emphasise the reveals or the salient points and in this room, he probably didn’t need the microphone. This was a good set that the audience enjoyed a lot.

Bluey’s – Pat Monahan – Goals (Work in Progress)

Tonight I was in Alfreton at Bluey’s for a comedy night. This is a cracking venue that has recently upgraded the lights and sound system. There was a big crowd present to see the bundle of energy that is Pat Monahan.

Owing to accidents on the motorway, the start was unavoidably delayed and Mr Bluey started what became a running joke, based on Monahan’s recent appearance on the One Show, that of him being held up due to his Irish passport. Within two minutes of Pat arriving, he was on stage performing, which was impressive, as most people would have needed a bit of time to centre themselves first.

The first half of the night involved Monahan chatting to people, asking questions that led back to material and then working their responses into his material. He is superb at this, having both a good memory and very sharp wits. The topic was dogs and there were some big laughs in how Monahan discovered what breeds people had, made a joke about it, added their information to his routine and then returned to it ten or twenty minutes later for a belter of a callback. When he wasn’t doing this, he was attempting to give away parts of pub furniture, chatting to people near the stage to discover who had comedy value (as Pat’s great at this, he found comedy in everyone) and then assigning characters and backstories to people. There was a huge laugh when he was chatting to what appeared to be a couple, only to be told by the lady that they were both friends and he asked, ‘does he know?’ Naturally with room work like this, the act can only chat to the people near the stage or in good light and sometimes that can leave the other half of the room feeling left out, but Monahan avoided that through not staying with any one person for too long and by being such an obviously warm people person. It was good to see that despite all of the interactions, even with people taking to google to check facts for him, that he stayed in control of everything and it didn’t degenerate into any kind of free for all.

After the intermission Pat worked on material for his upcoming show, Goals. This already looks promising. He began well by discussing an idea he had that might work on Dragon’s Den. This was all very relatable. When he moved on to talk about his notions for dealing with unsuccessful Apprentice candidates, there was an applause break. Although Love Island is a mystery to me, it was very easy to get onboard with what Monahan was talking about and laugh. The same could be said about Avocados – the bathroom routine was a standout. A lot of this section concerned marrying up and there were a lot of laughs in this, especially when Pat was discussing his own schooldays. The framework to the show was wide enough to give Monahan plenty of latitude to talk to people and venture along any number of apparent digressions before returning to what he was saying. To be honest, with Pat Monahan, it doesn’t really matter what the topic of his show is, he is always going to be good comedy value, because of his quick witted performance.

This was a very enjoyable night that was hugely appreciated by everyone.

New Barrack Tavern – Rich Wilson, Phil Carr, Eric Rushton, Jayde Adams and Jake Baker (MC)

Tonight I was in Sheffield for the Funhouse comedy night at the New Barrack Tavern. As always, this was a superb night. Kev and Steph are very welcoming and their love of comedy seems to enthuse the audience and as a result, everyone there is very up for a night of laughter. This was a sold out gig, with only a few empty chairs due to people who, despite having booked tickets, didn’t show up. It was pretty hot there and it must have been hotter still on stage. All of the acts received big laughs tonight and that was great to see.

Jake Baker

Baker got a lot of things right. He got people to turn their phones off, he did the rules, told folk to take their empty glasses back to the bar and plugged the next night. He was an affable, low key presence who in a friendly room like this didn’t need a lot of authority to get everyone in line. Baker was a bit unlucky in the front row, with two civil servants, an auditor (for a building society) and a dental technician. None of these had a lot of comedy potential, but he did manage to create an agreeable running joke about kitkats off the back of an off the cuff comment by one of the civil servants. There was one lady who was surprised by the don’t heckle announcement. She actually thought it was part of the night, for which Baker soundly showed her the error of her ways. This was pleasant compering and Baker ran the night well, but he wasn’t a presence that enthused the audience as much as he might have done.

Rich Wilson

Wilson was lively, jolly and exciting to watch. He built up loads of momentum and without being shouty or forceful, delivered his material with a real joie de vivre. He came to the stage 30 seconds after Baker had to explain to a lady that heckling wasn’t actually part of a night and Wilson immediately threw the heckle gauntlet down in a friendly and upbeat manner. This was then followed by material that concerned him getting older and the trials and travails of his age and position in life. For comedians over forty, this is a fairly well travelled area and whilst parts of it were a variation on a theme that a few people in there had heard before, Wilson did it extremely well, getting huge laughs and applause. There were some strong lines in here, especially sundries. The stand out routine of this set concerned a job that Wilson had taken a few years ago. He began this and then paused, noticing a lady sat on the second row who had her arms folded. He checked if she was ok with what he was saying and she replied, ‘it’s not upsetting, you’re incredibly funny.’ Wilson sat back against the wall and with the air of a man who might just take the rest of the week off, announced, ‘that, ladies and gents, is how you heckle.’ That got a massive laugh. Rich resumed the story, but after a few more lines, that lady put her hand up again and asked him to explain what ‘noshed’ meant. This all resulted in an applause break. This was a real crowd pleaser of a set that everyone enjoyed.

Phil Carr

We resumed after the intermission with Phil Carr, a deadpan act with well written dark material. The last time I saw him in the New Barrack Tavern was about fifteen months ago when he had come a close second in a gong show and so it’s nice to see him progressing. Carr opened with a good dark joke and continued with some tightly written edgy routines. These were all delivered at a moderate pace in a deliberate fashion. This delivery worked very well with the material. The vast majority of the room was onboard. There were quite a few people snorting with laughter. There was one woman who didn’t care for the darkness and so she got up and went into the bar area. Without missing a beat, Carr made a bonus of this by announcing that this was the first time it had happened to him, but as his dad was from Sheffield, he would be proud that it had occurred there. This got a big laugh. Carr had a good night and finished his set to the sound of applause and cheers.

Eric Rushton

Resplendent in tracksuit and medal, Rushton was a huge change in tone and style. He’s an act whom it’s easy to see the quality in, even if he’s not fully got it all nailed down yet. He switches between high and low status very adeptly, one moment talking about his insecurities and then the next lording it over the audience and I like the energy this approach brings to his performance. There was a great moment when he asked a lady in the audience to rate his looks out of ten and she replied with, ‘no use asking me, I’m a lesbian.’ The writing was original and refreshing, with the plot twist line being a solid gag. Although I don’t think Rushton is the completed article yet, he’s well on his way in developing a unique style and he will become formidable.

Jayde Adams

I shouldn’t be surprised if this isn’t Adams’ breakthrough year. The topics that Jayde discussed were her native Bristol, her size and celebrity. Bristol was very entertaining and hearing her strong Somerset accent was refreshing up here. The reactions to the earthquake were a mix of the loopy and parochial, all made very funny. Not being skinny was pitched at just the right level and there were a lot of laughs in it. I wasn’t totally with the celebrity material, not because it wasn’t good, but simply because beyond the names of the people mentioned, I didn’t have much of an idea about them otherwise – everyone else was fully onboard. What made Adams stand out so much was her personality. Sometimes acts are on autopilot, or are subdued, but there was no mistaking that Jayde was present, happy to be there and bags of fun to have in the building. She injected no end of personality into her performance and I think she managed to build a rapport with everyone there. It’s not hard to imagine a full show from her being a real experience. This was a champion performance that ended with a few people giving her a standing ovation and a few cries of more. This is someone who is going places.