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

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