So with the festive season over for another year it is time to get back to normal and a visit to the number one comedy club The Stand in Edinburgh seemed to be the order of the day in order to prepare for the weekend.
On arriving to find a rather larger than normal queue, 30 odd people celebrating a 21st birthday, who went on to somewhat take over the pre-show wait and making their presence more than felt prior to compere Susan Morrison hitting the stage. She of course managed to bring a presence of normality to proceedings. As always Susan was in top form, a commanding presence and just the lady to keep our rather vociferous visitors in check. Doing the compere’s role to perfection she gagged the more vocal elements of the crowd, while garnering as much information for the acts to work with should they so desire.
Bruce Fummey had the task of opening proceedings and this star of the Afro- Celtic comedy circuit’ comedian and speaker as always confidently took centre stage and was straight into his well written and delivered opening material. Unfortunately he was somewhat sidetracked by the ‘birthday’ party and feel his normal polished and funny performance suffered in the process. Still he is always good value anyway so I’ll just look forward to the next time I see him.
Following a rather extended first interval, and a rather less populated club, the birthday boys had been invited to leave, Susan introduced to us all the rather young Jamie Dalgliesh. This youngster from Glasgow has a load of potential but for a lot his strong Glasgow accent, his choice of material and the speed of his delivery did alienate a percentage of his audience. One visitor asked me at the end of his set ‘Was he actually speaking English?’ I explained and she said she was unable to understand a word. Okay his material is largely Glasgow based so maybe the nuances did not translate easily, just maybe slow down a bit and tone down the accent and reach a whole lot more people could be the way to go.
The closing act of part two was the ever popular Nathan Caton. Now I have seen him a few times during Edinburgh Fringes and a few TV appearances too so was looking forward to his set and I definately was not disappointed. Caton is young, still in his twenties, but has confidence and presence to back up his funny and well written material. There is no arrogance about this charismatic comic, he is the butt of most of his gags, but with his family providing a veritable gold mine of stories he is really blessed. Caton certainly has a huge future in comedy. I look forward to seeing his next performance and I am surely not alone in this respect.
A second interval and a bit more Morrison magic saw the headliner Ben Norris on stage to close out the gig. Now Norris came with a huge reputation part of which seems to be built on his riffing with the audience. Perhaps the audience were less than forth coming on the night, maybe there weren’t enough to play with, but to keep going back to female German genetics students, which had been a dry hole time and time again disappointed me. He switched to prepared material majoring on his 7 year old triplets was more of the expected standard, but was not enough to fill his time. He tried more riffing in a different corner, but again failed to achieve the comedy gold he was looking for. Instead of blaming the unfortunate pair for ruining his night, just maybe if he delivered more prepared material we could all have had a better time.
The Stand stage comedy nights in their three clubs, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle virtually every night of the year. To check out the stellar line-ups go to www.thestand.co.uk for all details.
Reviewed by Geoff