Jo Caulfield presents The Good The Bad and the Unexpected Stand Comedy Club Edinburgh 16 April 2013

If you attend a comedy gig on a regular basis then I guess you are familiar with the ‘four acts and a compere’ format and why not? it has worked for ages. But here on a monthly basis Jo Caulfield fronts a monthly eclectic mix of comics, comedy actors and occasionally storytellers working out of their comfort zone, doing sketches, new material and who knows what, and who knows who, for the complete line-up is always a surprise and to what they are doing even more so. What is certain however it is a great value for money show packed with some of the best talent the Scottish comedy scene can offer.

The first surprise on the night was that Ms Caulfield herself was unavailable so our host was Ben Verth, a role he fulfilled with his usual style and panache. Verth is accomplished in this role, he strikes the right mixture of material and audience banter, getting the busy club ready for the format on show and warming up them for those who followed.

The opening section saw comedians and actors Keara Murphy and Garry Dobson playing two characters who had been involved in the on-line dating experience. I am not sure if this was a jointly created piece or if as I suspect Murphy had written it with improv exponent Dobson adding his touches, but the end result was an excellent and very funny segment as each side of the dating process was dissected. As always both performers proved their class and versatility and deserved the acclaim they received at the conclusion of the story.

On next was young and outrageously talented comic Eleanor Morton. This somewhat quirky flame haired comic is really setting the comedy scene abuzz and she has honed her style, her delivery and material to a fine degree. Usually to be seen with her trusty ukulele, this time she was armed with a mini keyboard and delivered her mixture of material and comedy songs with this accompaniment. I have become quite a fan over the past twelve months and have to say she always delivers and tonight was no exception. Ms Morton is definitely heading for the big time in my opinion.

Closing out part one was circuit stalwart Keir McAlister. He as always oozes charisma and stage presence and a whole raft of funny material. His rapid delivery and observational side were to the fore on this occasion and it was as usual well received from one and all.  McAlister has the ability to captivate everyone whatever the audience and his slightly longer tale about a bus journey and a Goth was rib achingly funny. Yet another top class performance from him I am pleased to say.

 

Following the first interval Verth got things going again prior to introducing Fiona Herbert for her segment. Now Ms Herbert is more used to story telling, but on this occasion character comedy was the route she undertook. A ‘supply teacher with some issues and a glass of wine in hand’ chatted through some of her problems collecting laughs along the way. The characterisation was excellent, the writing solid and I look forward to seeing more.

Another emerging comic in Edinburgh is ‘Londoner’ Liam Withnail. On previous occasions I had seen him I though he had potential, and this was somewhat realised on this occasion. Even with new material some of which perhaps requires a little work, I felt he commanded his section. His stage presence, his confidence and yes most of the material impressed me and went down well with all. I’ll be watching his career with interest.

Where would this monthly show be without a selection from cult comedian Jim Park. Whatever you think of his style and material you have to applaud his inventiveness and his ability to gain laughs, certainly something that was achieved on ample occasions on the night. For once minus his trademark clipboardPark’s enjoyment at performing was almost tangible, and his enthusiasm engulfed the majority of the audience. The true ethic of this show is personified by Jim as you never know what is going to happen next and occasionally why is it going that way, but hey we’ll all be back for more next month.

After the second interval the final two acts of the evening, initially Jane Walker trying out new material. Now this was the first time I had seen her perform so had no reference points to previous content she had, but some of this set was excellent, some was less so. She has a confident persona and I’m sure will not be short of gigs. I’d like to see more as it is often hard to judge on such a short set.

The closing act on the night was the eccentrically titled band ‘Magical Fruit Dance of the Bengal Tiger’. Okay you may have guessed by the name that this was another character comedy piece this time starring the ever inventive Gareth Waugh and Gus Lymburn. Masquerading as two upper middleclass guys on a gap year in exotic places on daddy’s credit cards these two lampooned the genre, garnered many a laugh and even chipped in with musical numbers to boot. Yet another good example of how diverse the talent pool in the Scottish comedy scene is at present.

And that was that until next month that is, when the next instalment hits the stage again and who knows what will happen and even who will be there to make it happen. The best way to find out is to be there in person and it is easy to book tickets via the Stand website www.thestand.co.uk  which also has the listings for all three clubs here in Edinburgh, Glasgow or Newcastle.

Reviewed by Geoff

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