It was the night that the Christmas lights were turned on in ‘The Athens of the North’ and to say the weather was cold would have been an understatement. However, I was as warm as anything, sitting in The Stand comedy Club, basking in the heat of the red-hot comedy that flowed from the stage engulfing the packed out crowd.
Compere for the night was the bubbly and ebullient Susan Calman. Now I have seen he in this role on numerous occasions over the last few years, and she is always good, usually she’s great, but for this performance she was on fire. Susan as usual is a master at gently cajoling information from the audience, prizing information, opening prize gems from the crowd, setting them up for further investigation. Whether it was luck or good design by the Stand management, but maybe it was fortunate that there were two firemen on the front roll to keep things under control.
The opening act was a young Irish lad from Cork by name of Chris Kent. This was the first time I have come across this very funny chap but I certainly hope it will not be the last. Chris is a one-time electrician, and I can confirm that he is a bit of a bit of a bright spark as a comedian too. He was straight into his set of very funny, often self-deprecating in style, material delivered with buckets of confidence and has stage presence a plenty. In very short order he was drawing peels of laughter from all corners of the club. I will certainly look for him performing again and I’m sure he is yet another on the Eire conveyor belt of talent following on from the likes of Ed Byrne, Jason Byrne, Andrew Maxwell and Neil Delamere to name but a few.
Following the first interval and a further demonstration from Ms Calman as to her comedy prowess the larger than life Rick Molland bounded onto the stage. Lancastrian by birth but now Edinburgh resident Molland certainly had plenty of stage presence and his style of ‘lefty’ comedy was retro in some respects but bang up to date in content. It is fair to say that Rick has strong opinions on certain subjects and spits bile at targets, Jim Davidson, his fans and Maggie Thatcher are worthy recipients of his scorn but the BNP were the main focus of his diatribe. I think it would be fair to say he may not be for everyone, however those who got him seemed to lap it up. I’d like to see him again before I formed a full opinion, but I would certainly be prepared to see more.
Closing the second part was as Aberdonian Gus Tawse. It had been quite a while since I had seen him and have to say I was very impressed with the set he delivered. Tawse has no histrionics in his delivery, rather the reverse, what he does deliver is a very funny, well written, observed and delivered set peppered with plenty of laugh out loud moments. His subject material is varied including PC gone mad, his grandfather, a difficult childhood and of course a bit about his hometown. Tawse was on the button throughout, and had the entire crowd with him too. Here’s to the next time.
Following the second interval and prize draw the comedy typhoon that is Phil Nichol took to the stage and blew the audience to smithereens. The man is pure mania; he must expend enough energy in his twenty minutes or so to power a small town for a week. Okay most of the set I had heard before, yet it always seems fresh in the approach. Nichol is as well as an extremely funny guy also is a mean guitar player and a really good vocalist, so uses these abilities to enhance his performance. He captivated the crowd from the outset and never let them go throughout. He honed in on an unfortunate guy in the front row, Kevin, who found himself more involved in the performance than maybe he would have wished, but never in a nasty way. Nichol is Nichol. And it would be fair to say that he is as entertaining as he was on this night every time I have seen him and that must be at least in double figures now. Go see him yourselves and be prepared to be blown away.
The Stand delivers quality comedy virtually every night of the year both in Edinburgh and in Glasgow so to check out what is on offer why not visit their website www.thestand.co.uk for detail