Where to go for a good night out on a Thursday in November, location Edinburgh? This is a no brainer really. The Stand Comedy Club in York Place has everything you would want. Friendly staff, good choice of beer and wine, quality home cooked food and a comedy bill on offer that is second to none.
Our host for the night was the ebullient Susan Morrison, one of the many top class comperes this club is blessed with. Susan was straight into her role, her normal hundred miles an hour style of delivery packing the time available to her with a whole host of gags, stories and garnering information from the packed out audience to use as call backs later for both herself and the others that followed.
Having warmed up one and all, and getting the chuckle muscles toned, she introduced the opening act Edinburgh based Fifer Derek Johnston. It has been quite a while since I have seen this personable young chap perform and it was good to catch up with him again.
After a gentle start, with a little muted response from the crowd, Derek swiftly got into his stride and as his momentum built so did the laughter. Johnston is not a confrontational comedian, anything but, but this in no way detracts from his ability. Certainly by the end of his set virtually everyone wanted more.
Following the first interval, the first of two acts took the mic, and for the ‘short’ set it was Gus Lymburn. Although he has been around on the comedy circuit for quite a while this was the first chance I had had to see him I action for myself. I have to say I can understand why he has acquired a good reputation. Slightly more dramatic in style than Johnston, Gus was endearing himself to most, maybe not the Geordies up front, but they took it in good part, with a set packed through out with very funny material. I certainly look forward to seeing him again, this time with a longer set hopefully.
Closing the second section was Scottish comedy legend Parrot. This chap has been on the comedy scene for absolutely ages, although until recently his profile seemed to be somewhat lower. This is the third time I have seen him this year and he keeps getting better as far as I am concerned.
He certainly has stage presence in abundance, and a whole raft of funny material, often self deprecating, but this performance seemed to capture the imagination of the crowd and they were more than happy to go along with him for the duration of his set.
Following the second interval and prize draw Ms Morrison introduced our headliner Carey Marx. Now I have been a huge fan of his for a number of years now and make no secret of it. He is well respected in the business too, so I really cannot understand why he is not a mega star. Perhaps his choice of material may alienate him from some, but it is so well written, bitingly funny and superbly delivered, I don’t think I could ever take offence at his stuff. I was impressed with the whole set, his brand new material standing up well against his slightly better known, to me anyway, classics. The two friends I had with me on the night, had never previously seen him were well impressed, as was virtually the entire crowd. Part of his charm is his wicked grin that often accompanies his darker stuff, an expression that gets wider the better he goes down. And this was very evident on the night.
In these days of doom and gloom, recession and the impending festive season value for money is an essential. So with shows such as these of offer what better value could a comedy fan get?
To check out the future programme for both the Edinburgh and Glasgow venues go to their website at www.thestand.co.uk for details.
Reviewed by Geoff