Stand Comedy Club Edinburgh 25 October

With the dark nights firmly upon us and the clocks changing shortly the cool fingers of impending winter are very much in evidence outside, but inside Scotland’s premier comedy club the atmosphere is always tropical and no more so than this gig.
One thing that is assured is when compere Joe Heenan is the man in charge the laughs are thick and fast from the opening seconds and when he is on top form the experience is even better than ever. Not only was he on the top of his game but the comedy gods had blessed him with a front row comics can only dream of, an American professor of robotics, a Swedish couple on holiday, a pair of Birmingham visitors, together with a New Zealand promo team and a business analyst a row back. All food and drink for this exceptionally talented comedian and boy did he make capital out of them. His riffing as always was top notch and this allied to his innate talent Joe is just a delight to listen too.
Opening act was David Whitney and although he has been around for a while it is the first time I have seen him perform. Although Aberdeen born, Whitney sounds very English, and a fair amount of his material is about London, but this translated well to the packed out club. He had a packed set talking about drinking, pineapple, pizza, royalty, banks and girlfriends in his all too short set. Whitney has stage presence in bucket loads and I have added his name to the growing list of comedians to be sure to check out again.
Following the first interval and some more Heenan magic Becky Price was next onstage doing her stuff. Now I had seen her a few months ago and was impressed with this linguistic student. Okay Ms Price had only a short time to perform but used the time to the max. Her set was so full of material she seemed to deliver it at machine gun pace, but as before I thought she showed she could more than hold her own on what was a very talented bill. Her somewhat innocent look deceived in some ways as she delivered her set of well crafted funny stuff peppered with language that your maiden aunt may not approve of, although the audience lapped it up. Becky is a name for the future I am sure and I look forward to seeing her undoubted progression.
Closing out part two was Stand regular and genuinely funny guy Keir McAllister. I have seen him perform countless times over the years and have never ever been disappointed and again he was on top form. He has a non stop style, packing in more stories than the average performer into his set, but then nobody could ever describe him as average. Trams, William Wallace, travel, previous gigs and a section on his recent marriage were subjects he delivered his well observed, written and performed set to universal acclaim.
Part three started with the ‘prize draw’ conducted in the inimitable Heenan style prior to introducing headline act Rob Deering. Now I have to admit to being a fan of this guy having seen his Edinburgh Fringe shows each time and a few occasions out with as well. Deering is a very clever comic. He won the Weakest Link comedy special a year or two back without getting a question wrong in the entire programme, and majors on both his comedy and his guitar/effect peddles to create a set packed with laughs and garners genuine admiration from one and all. The way in seconds he can create a band and backing vocals with his ‘live looping’ just has to be witnessed !! Deering is a non-confrontational comic, he has a pleasing and engaging stage manner, always smiling and I lost count of the number of laughs he generated throughout his session. As always it was a delight to witness a master at work.
And that was it unfortunately that was it. Heenan closed out the gig and everyone had to leave into the cold night but with a warm glow remaining inside.
The Stand organisation runs comedy nights virtually every night each year in their three venues Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle so to check out on the line-ups visit their website www.thestand.co.uk
Reviewed by Geoff

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Edinburgh Comedy Collective – The Good, The Bad and the Ugly -16 October

It had been quite a while since I had been to Edinburgh’s Stand Comedy Club and even longer since I had seen the Comedy Collective perform there so on the cold almost winter’s evening I put both to right’s by joining a healthy audience to witness the spectacle.
Now for those unaware of the format these evenings take then I’ll explain. Jo Caulfield is a constant presence and the first two sections are a series of ‘panel’ games which are recorded as a podcast, available free to download on iTunes, which sets established comics in competition with each other and generally taking them out of their comfort zone and causing many a laugh for all along the way, with the third section a collection of comics, some new some established trying out various different ideas, characters etc, I’m sure you get the idea. The whole evening is ably held together by Improv superstar Stu Murphy this time in his role as compere.
The players in the panel show were Jo Caulfield and Garry Dobson as team 1 against young Glaswegian Ray Bradshaw and stalwart Graeme Thomas as their opposition. So either individually, or in teams these funny foursome were strutting their stuff for the points arbitrarily awarded by mein host Murphy.
As you could expect crazy capers and mayhem ensued, I wonder how the visiting party of Swiss students referenced some of the stuff, but they like us had a really good time in sessions packed with laughs, giggles and the occasional groan dependant on the gag.
So after the two sections of the recorded podcast and a final interval it was the turn of the others to do a few minutes of different stuff. Murphy was still in charge as compere and his character switch was worth the admission money in itself. ‘Arthur Dingleberry’ was our first character comic, maybe resembling a certain Jim Park somewhat, and his eccentric style seemed to divide the room. A lot of belly laughs from some, but a lot of this inventive guy’s material was lost on our Swiss visitors.
Ben Verth was next to give us a character piece as he dons the guise of a ‘famous’ author reading extracts of his successful books. Verth has plenty of stage presence and his own inimitably slightly wacky style of comedy, but he, as always, made a good impression on one and all.
Hannah Campbell was the next comic to grace the stage and was a new name for me. This Glaswegian lady was brimming with self-confidence and established herself from the off. The material in her all too short set was well received and she is certainly someone I’d like to see again this time with a longer set.
And still they came, Bob Graham being the next one to entertain. Fresh from a recent Edinburgh Fringe run Graham another one brimming with confidence and with a certainly noticeable look more than did himself justice in his allotted time.
Closing out the night was Spanish Singer ‘Jelly Bean Martinez.’ I think it is fair to say that he made an immediate impression on the crowd and elicited howls of laughter with the characterisation that he delivered. I think his selection of a couple of our visitors to abet him in a dance number was well received by their peers, but I don’t think anyone could possibly be unimpressed with what was delivered. I would really like to see more of this act, and I’m sure I will. I don’t see anything but a bright future for our Iberian star.
So that was that, only 3 hours after the start. One certainly gets value for money here that’s for sure. To check out the next time The Comedy Collective are present and all of the other shows on offer at The Stand then www.thestand.co.uk is the place to be.
Reviewed by Geoff