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We thank you for the support here and hope you will continue to follow us on the new site, where from now on all new postings will appear.
See you there
I like comedy in all shapes and sizes as followers of this site will no doubt be aware, and it is always good to have a great laugh. I think therefore the most laughs one can have in any given hour is with the one liner comics with such exponents as Tim Vine, Stewart Francis, Milton Jones all to the fore. But for me the daddy of them all is possibly the least well know as yet and he is Gary Delaney.
I was press ganged into seeing his Fringe show a couple of years ago and boy was I glad. There were more laughs per minutes than anyone else I had seen so was delighted to get a second helping albeit a while later.
But before we get to the main event an unexpected bonus was on offer up front, in the shape of Steve Day. Steve is a deaf comedian, and I use the small d intentionally, but he has come to terms with this and well and truly carved his niche in the world of comedy. Full of bubbling enthusiasm Day bounded onto the stage to do his bit, was he really on 20 minutes? The time flew by, it seemed like only 10 with a jamb packet set of quality material. A fair amount of which was on his condition and how it has affected his life and how it has been used to his advantage, also his family, TV subtitles, gigs and preconceptions came under his microscope. Day went down well with the packed out crowd from the start and I know I was not alone in wanting to hear more from this gifted comic.
After a short interval it was the turn of Gary Delaney to take command of the club and boy did he grab it with both hands. He explains that there is no message in his show, no underlying meanings, just jokes pure and simple and then sets about his tast like the artist he is. I tried to count the number of one-liners and laughs he delivered but sheer weight of numbers defeated me. Nicely punctuated with excursions to AV and clipboards Delaney delivers his gags in machine gun style burst. He can be juvenile, edgy, outrageous, silly and intelligent with his stuff, but wherever he goes he is also very, very funny and amazingly inventive.
Like his opening act the time flew by, I really couldn’t believe he was coming to the end of his hour when he started winding up, but unfortunately he had. Still I really think everyone enjoyed his set, I certainly had a ball and next time he is around will be waiting impatiently for my ticket. Catch him if you can while. His forthcoming gigs are listed at www.garydelaney.com so check out if he is playing near you and for the best of what’s on offer at The Stand then www.thestand.co.uk is the place to be.
Reviewed by Geoff
With the weather actually feeling like May for a change I made my way to Edinburgh’s Stand Comedy Club for the monthly all female line-up gig full of expectation for a top quality night of comedy and I wasn’t disappointed.
As part of an unusually bijou audience we were welcomed by our MC and compere Susan Calman, who is usually the mainstay of these gigs and as always no matter the size of crowd delivers a masterclass of how to do the role. Susan has a much higher profile these days but doesn’t have any airs and graces, just an honest to goodness class act who is in her natural habitat chatting with the audience, jesting, feeding in some of her material and generally warming up everyone for the acts to follow. She is always different each time and this show was no exception. Ms Calman was on fire and ran with an idea that she was ‘psychic’ a la Derek Acorah to absolutely hilarious effect. She had the entire audience in stitches, nothing new there as this amiable Glaswegian always does, but set the scene for those to follow, the first of whom was Elaine Malcolmson.
Elaine seems to have been missing for the scene for a while and I for once have missed seeing her perform. From Northern Ireland originally but now Glasgow based, she has a style all of her own and also is never predictable as to her subject matter. What she is always is a great value act, and manages to draw laughs from unusual ideas and subject. Recent trips to New York, the different meaning of word dependant on where you are from, the NHS and radical solutions to A&E issues and alternatives to medicines TK Max and fridges all were dealt with during her set as only she can. Great to see her back and on top form.
Following the first interval and more of Susan’s new found psychic powers filling the short slot was up and coming Natasha Yapp, and in keeping with what is the norm on the night certainly delivered a thoroughly entertaining set. Ms Yapp is of a very complicated heritage and a lot of her material was based on and around this, all of which to me anyway was extremely well written and impeccably delivered. I saw her a few months ago on beginners night Red Raw and since then she has matured as a performer so much. Confident without being cocky she took charge from the off and certainly was well received by all. Definitely look forward to seeing her progress to a longer set.
Closing out part two was Lancastrian Katie Mulgrew. This was the first time I had seen this effervescent lady perform and like everyone was impressed with her offering. She seemed to have boundless enthusiasm, some really funny material and bags of personality. Her range of subject matter was wide, her recent engagement, McDonalds, a friends new child, previous Edinburgh trips and ex boyfriends amongst other subjects were intermingled with audience riffing all to great effect. I would like to see her with a larger crowd to play off as I feel she feeds off audience reaction a lot and the more they give the more she does too, so hopefully next time I’ll see if I’m right.
Headline act of the night was the gorgeous Tara Flynn. This multi talented comedian / singer/ actress/voiceover artist has been a favourite of mine for years and if anything looks younger today than she did the first time I saw her. Tara has total control from the start, captivating the punters with her mix of comedy and music. Starting off with some really funny stuff on her native Ireland, tourism, Ryan Air ‘The Gathering’ and the boom years there moving through to her recent marriage and her moving into her middle youth , Ms Flynn royally entertained. And as a bonus she completed her set with three of her songs to demonstrate not only her vocal abilities and styles and also song writing abilities, a really enjoyable ending to a fine set.
And for another month that was that. Ms Calman closed it out and we all had to leave. Still next month it’ll be back okay a new line-up but without doubt the same high standard. For details of this and all other shows at The Stand in Edinburgh, Glasgow or Newcastle check out the website www.thestand.co.uk ad you can book tickets for their Edinburgh Fringe line-up too.
Reviewed by Geoff
It was the May Day Bank holiday in Edinburgh and somewhat unusually it was almost warm and dry as I headed to this Monday night show, an opportunity for up and coming comics to get a a chance to home their style in front of a live audience and also an opportunity for more established acts to try out new material. I like to drop in occasionally to see what’s happening and although the night is always well supported this one was absolutely heaving, Why? The word was out that a couple of potential star players were on the bill so i was intrigued to see if this was the case.
Compere for the night was Stuart Mitchell a new name to me, but obviously a guy well versed in his art. Right from the off Mitchell was in charge and endeared himself to the by now bursting at the seams club with his material interlinked with audience riffing. He was excellent in this essential warming up the crowd role, has bags of stage presence and it was good to see yet another young Scottish MC staking his claim, the Scottish scene is so fortunate to have many already, but he certainly was well up with them.
Opening act was Neha Nayer. Now I have seen her perform a few times now and I guess you cannot say she is conventional in her approach or material. Ms Nayer is a little surreal for my palate I have to admit, but her initial confidence seemed to desert her mid way through and maybe it was part of the act, but she didn’t seem as though she was enjoying being there. It is always good to see immerging comics and I hope she continues to perform and I look forward to her development.
Jay Miles was the next act to the stage and he was straight into his material, funny throughout with material on facebook stalking and alternative TV shows well to the fore. He got plenty of laughs and certainly did himself justice throughout. Hopefully the next time I see him he will have a longer time allocation as I felt I wanted to hear more.
Derek Johnston was the next to ply his trade, a comic who I have hardly seem for ages. He is always value for money in his set, his style particular to him and delivered a set of new and more established material. I don’t think Derek is a laugh a second comedian, but his material is well crafted and often very clever. Maybe an acquired taste for some, but something I got in tune with a while ago and it was good to see him back on stage again.
Closing out part one was another guy who I hadn’t seen for a few years Martin McAllister. Now anyone who has seen him will instantly know his delivery style and his penchant for unusual material and both were in evidence in abundance. He has plenty of material to fill his time, the odd, and I do mean odd, prop to reinforce part of the set and to a certain extent he split the room, some really going with him, others slightly less impressed and then some, myself included ,liking some stuff but not so much other stories.
Following the first interval and Stuart Mitchell giving another example of his undoubted skills, he introduced Jamie Andrew to one and all. Andrew has stage presence to burn, a commanding delivery and a whole raft of extremely funny material. Evangelical Christians, geology, homophobia, confessionals and a horoscope tirade were stopping off points of his extremely impressive set. Definitely one to catch again soon all being well.
Next act confirmed the rumours were true when Edinburgh based Canadian Tom Stade hit the stage to huge acclaim. Stade is a veteran of numerous appearances at Edinburgh Fringe and assorted TV shows as well and just oozes professionalism and class from every pore. This was his chance to try out new material and for me anyway I have never seen him in better fettle. His personality swamped the club, he got laughs with every line and if the 10 minutes or so we got was indicative of his new show, then I’ll be right at the front of the queue when tickets go on sale. The material, mostly about his family, was well written and impeccably delivered. To quote the title of his 2013 show State ‘Totally Rocks’.
And they kept on coming, hard on his heels came another Edinburgh residing superstar Dylan Moran. Having been the youngest ever winner of the Perrier Award in 1996 he has been held in awe by most ever since and ventures into film and TV, Black Books, have only enhanced his reputation further. It was amazing to see him on stage working on new material, and of course like Stade before him the audience lapped up every word an nuance. A bit less prepared than some Moran was however a shining example of how to work his room. I certainly thoroughly enjoyed his all too short set.
Following the second interval it fell on Pierre Novellie to close out the gig as the headliner. Now some may have been fazed doing this following such icons, but not this young man. Novellie is South African by birth but has lived in the Isle of Man for 15 years . A fair amount of his set had undertones and references to his country of birth, but the set was not just that. It was well written, impeccably delivered and most importantly extremely funny. He certainly was in anyway out of place in this exalted company. Take my word for it he is going to go far in the world of comedy, so do yourself a favour and check him out.
So that was it for another night. What value for money it was too. For all the up and coming gigs at The Stand’s three clubs, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle why not visit their website www.thestand.co.uk where you can also buy tickets for their Fringe programme in August as well.
Reviewed by Geoff
Does the weekend start on a Thursday? Not for many people I guess but it always does at The Stand Comedy Club. Thursday night is the time when their weekend line-up first hits the stage and with the club as always getting busy early, many taking advantage of their new food menu as well as the well stocked bar, there is always a weekend feel to the night.
Mein host for the night was Joe Heenan and that always means we are in safe hands and tonight was no exception. As always Heenan combines the ability to chat with the audience, gather information for further exploration by him and others, blended together with his genuinely funny material, he is always value for money. Within seconds he had the club in the palm of his hands and played them like the virtuoso is really is. 15 minutes of ‘warm-up’ and then it was time for the opening act, someone who has been away for too long in my opinion Janice Phayre and she was on fire.
She has an eclectic mix of style, the Irish craic, mixed with physical comedy and some really funny material always goes down well, and the occasionally ‘needy’ persona adds to the experience. She engages with the audience throughout her set and is certainly non-confrontational even though her subject matter majors on sex. I don’t think anyone could have failed to enjoy her 20 minutes, certainly my friend seeing her for the first time thought she rocked and who am I to disagree?
The first interval followed and then Mr Heenan was back for more fine stuff. He always seems to be having as much fun in his job as the audience do in listening to him and I feel he could play the whole night himself easily, however he introduced Robin Grainger, a young up and coming Scottish comic to do ‘the short slot.’ The last time I saw him on newcomers night Red Raw I thought he shone and he was certainly not out of place in this line-up either. Grainger has bags of personality and stage presence; he exudes confidence and backs this up with some excellent material as well. I expect him to go far in the comedy world and look forward to seeing him do a longer set in the near future. Highlight of his set? Well I loved his story of a doctors’ visit, but that was just one story of many that endeared him to the masses.
John Ross closed out part two and maintained the high standard that had been laid down by those who had gone before. Glaswegian native Ross’s style is laid back and his subject material was different, but well observed and delivered.’ Ear wigging’ conversations, parents, kids and a hospital visit were highlights of his set which was well received throughout. I would certainly be happy to see more of his stuff soon.
After a couple of years away from Edinburgh it was always going to be a pleasure to see headliner Paul Sinha back where he belongs, topping the bill at a comedy gig. To many in the club he was probably better known as ‘The Sinner Man’ from ITV’s quiz programme The Chase, but without a doubt they are now aware of the comedy talent of this GP / comedian/ and quizzer. As always his immaculate set is well written and presented and his engaging personality more than filled the club. Sinha is often self deprecating as he talks about his lack of bravery, poor relationship history and detrimental Twitter comments about him, but as cream always will, he rises to the surface to succeed. His loss to the medical fraternity is certainly entertainments gain. If you get the chance be sure to check him out as I am certain it will be time well spent. You can check out his website www.paulsinha.com or The Stand’s site www.thestand .co.uk for further details.
Reviewed by Geoff
If you attend a comedy gig on a regular basis then I guess you are familiar with the ‘four acts and a compere’ format and why not? it has worked for ages. But here on a monthly basis Jo Caulfield fronts a monthly eclectic mix of comics, comedy actors and occasionally storytellers working out of their comfort zone, doing sketches, new material and who knows what, and who knows who, for the complete line-up is always a surprise and to what they are doing even more so. What is certain however it is a great value for money show packed with some of the best talent the Scottish comedy scene can offer.
The first surprise on the night was that Ms Caulfield herself was unavailable so our host was Ben Verth, a role he fulfilled with his usual style and panache. Verth is accomplished in this role, he strikes the right mixture of material and audience banter, getting the busy club ready for the format on show and warming up them for those who followed.
The opening section saw comedians and actors Keara Murphy and Garry Dobson playing two characters who had been involved in the on-line dating experience. I am not sure if this was a jointly created piece or if as I suspect Murphy had written it with improv exponent Dobson adding his touches, but the end result was an excellent and very funny segment as each side of the dating process was dissected. As always both performers proved their class and versatility and deserved the acclaim they received at the conclusion of the story.
On next was young and outrageously talented comic Eleanor Morton. This somewhat quirky flame haired comic is really setting the comedy scene abuzz and she has honed her style, her delivery and material to a fine degree. Usually to be seen with her trusty ukulele, this time she was armed with a mini keyboard and delivered her mixture of material and comedy songs with this accompaniment. I have become quite a fan over the past twelve months and have to say she always delivers and tonight was no exception. Ms Morton is definitely heading for the big time in my opinion.
Closing out part one was circuit stalwart Keir McAlister. He as always oozes charisma and stage presence and a whole raft of funny material. His rapid delivery and observational side were to the fore on this occasion and it was as usual well received from one and all. McAlister has the ability to captivate everyone whatever the audience and his slightly longer tale about a bus journey and a Goth was rib achingly funny. Yet another top class performance from him I am pleased to say.
Following the first interval Verth got things going again prior to introducing Fiona Herbert for her segment. Now Ms Herbert is more used to story telling, but on this occasion character comedy was the route she undertook. A ‘supply teacher with some issues and a glass of wine in hand’ chatted through some of her problems collecting laughs along the way. The characterisation was excellent, the writing solid and I look forward to seeing more.
Another emerging comic in Edinburgh is ‘Londoner’ Liam Withnail. On previous occasions I had seen him I though he had potential, and this was somewhat realised on this occasion. Even with new material some of which perhaps requires a little work, I felt he commanded his section. His stage presence, his confidence and yes most of the material impressed me and went down well with all. I’ll be watching his career with interest.
Where would this monthly show be without a selection from cult comedian Jim Park. Whatever you think of his style and material you have to applaud his inventiveness and his ability to gain laughs, certainly something that was achieved on ample occasions on the night. For once minus his trademark clipboardPark’s enjoyment at performing was almost tangible, and his enthusiasm engulfed the majority of the audience. The true ethic of this show is personified by Jim as you never know what is going to happen next and occasionally why is it going that way, but hey we’ll all be back for more next month.
After the second interval the final two acts of the evening, initially Jane Walker trying out new material. Now this was the first time I had seen her perform so had no reference points to previous content she had, but some of this set was excellent, some was less so. She has a confident persona and I’m sure will not be short of gigs. I’d like to see more as it is often hard to judge on such a short set.
The closing act on the night was the eccentrically titled band ‘Magical Fruit Dance of the Bengal Tiger’. Okay you may have guessed by the name that this was another character comedy piece this time starring the ever inventive Gareth Waugh and Gus Lymburn. Masquerading as two upper middleclass guys on a gap year in exotic places on daddy’s credit cards these two lampooned the genre, garnered many a laugh and even chipped in with musical numbers to boot. Yet another good example of how diverse the talent pool in the Scottish comedy scene is at present.
And that was that until next month that is, when the next instalment hits the stage again and who knows what will happen and even who will be there to make it happen. The best way to find out is to be there in person and it is easy to book tickets via the Stand website www.thestand.co.uk which also has the listings for all three clubs here in Edinburgh, Glasgow or Newcastle.
Reviewed by Geoff
In what was the final date of a 48 venue tour when always funny Canadian Katherine Ryan brought what was her Edinburgh Fringe 2012 show Nature’s Candy back to the city.
Almost an hour before the show started the iconic comedy club was packet to the rafters to see live this personable comic who has wowed them on TV in shows such as Mock the Week, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, 8 out of 10 Cats and her appearances on Let’s Dance for Comic Relief. And I can’t believe even one left even marginally disappointed.
But before Ms Ryan we had an opening act, that being Jeff Leach an much tattooed self-styled 100% gyppo to warm up the audience with his brand of humour. This he achieved with an amalgam of material interlinked with audience riffing, being inclusive rather than confrontational throughout his set.
The theme of his set seemed to be his cleaning up his act since meeting a good woman and has a myriad of stories of his previous wild days in juxtaposition with his current position. Such examples as his BBC3 documentary which no one watched, a visit to a doctors, the difference in the way men and women react to health issues. But there is still some bad boy in Leach’s material as he pours vitriol on Thatcher, Dappy and XFactor. For me the highlight was almost an homage to fellow comic Tony Law as he slipped into an uncannily accurate impersonation a few times through the latter part of the act. All told it is fair to say his 20 minutes set was well received by the crowd.
Following a brief interval Katherine Ryan hit the stage and from the outset commanded the club with her on-stage presence and confident personality not forgetting a whole hour plus packed full of quality material. Canadian by birth but she has been living in the UK for 5 years now and the lifestyle comparisons between the two give her plenty of scope for content, and she exploits this well. But by no means is this all, hell no, a self confessed celebrity fan Beyonce, Rihanna, the British Royals especially Prince Harry, James Hewitt all come under her scrutiny and laughs a plenty ensued. Also politicians and tweets majoring on Ken Livingston and Boris Johnson, is there nothing she cannot expound on? Also getting airtime was her family and of course a multitude of anecdotes about her young daughter, all related in her own inimitable style.
It is fair to say that once again she rocked the house through out the allotted hour, an hour that evaporated all too quickly for everyone.
I have been charting her progression from the first time I saw he nearly 5 years ago and I am convinced that she will be stellar within a very short time. The current tour is now finished but for further gigs check out her website www.katherineryan.co.uk and if there is a gig near you then grab the chance with both hands, I am totally confident you will not regret it. And for all future gigs at The Stand then www.thestand.co.uk is the place to be.
Reviewed by Geoff