Wicked Wenches – Stand Comedy Club Edinburgh – 7 May 2013

P1030587 With the weather actually feeling like May for a change I made my way to Edinburgh’s Stand Comedy Club for the monthly all female line-up gig full of expectation for a top quality night of comedy and I wasn’t disappointed.

As part of  an unusually bijou audience we were welcomed by our MC and compere Susan Calman, who is usually the mainstay of these gigs and as always no matter the size of crowd delivers a masterclass of how to do the role. Susan has a much higher profile these days but doesn’t have any airs and graces, just an honest to goodness class act who is in her natural habitat chatting with the audience, jesting, feeding in some of her material and generally warming up everyone for the acts to follow. She is always different each time and this show was no exception. Ms Calman was on P1030600fire and ran with an idea that she was ‘psychic’ a la Derek Acorah to absolutely hilarious effect. She had the entire audience in stitches, nothing new there as this amiable Glaswegian always does, but set the scene for those to follow, the first of whom was Elaine Malcolmson.

Elaine seems to have been missing for the scene for a while and I for once have missed seeing her perform. From Northern Ireland originally but now Glasgow based, she has a style all of her own and also is never predictable as to her subject matter. What she is always is a great value act, and manages to draw laughs from unusual ideas and subject. Recent trips to New York, the different meaning of word dependant on where you are from, the NHS and radical solutions to A&E issues and alternatives to medicines TK Max and fridges all were dealt with during her set as only she can. Great to see her back and on top form.

P1030604Following the first interval and more of Susan’s new found psychic powers filling the short slot was up and coming Natasha Yapp, and in keeping with what is the norm on the night certainly delivered a thoroughly entertaining set. Ms Yapp is of a very complicated heritage and a lot of her material was based on and around this, all of which to me anyway was extremely well written and impeccably delivered. I saw her a few months ago on beginners night Red Raw and since then she has matured as a performer so much. Confident without being cocky she took charge from the off and certainly was well received by all. Definitely look forward to seeing her progress to a longer set.

P1030614Closing out part two was Lancastrian Katie Mulgrew. This was the first time I had seen this effervescent lady perform and like everyone was impressed with her offering. She seemed to have boundless enthusiasm, some really funny material  and bags of personality. Her range of  subject matter was wide, her recent engagement, McDonalds, a friends new child, previous Edinburgh trips and ex boyfriends amongst other subjects were intermingled with audience riffing all to great effect. I would like to see her with a larger crowd to play off as I feel she feeds off audience reaction a lot and the more they give the more she does too, so hopefully next time I’ll see if I’m right.

TaHeadline act of the night was the gorgeous Tara Flynn.  This multi talented  comedian / singer/ actress/voiceover artist has been a favourite of mine for years and if anything looks younger today than she did the first time I saw her. Tara has total control from the start, captivating the punters with her mix of comedy and music. Starting off with some really funny stuff on her native Ireland,  tourism, Ryan Air ‘The Gathering’ and the boom years there moving through to her recent marriage and her moving into her middle youth , Ms Flynn royally entertained.  And as a bonus she completed her set with three of her songs to demonstrate not only her vocal abilities and styles and also song writing abilities, a really enjoyable ending to a fine set.

And for another month that was that. Ms Calman closed it out and we all had to leave. Still next month it’ll be back okay a new line-up but without doubt the same high standard. For details of this and all other shows at The Stand in Edinburgh, Glasgow or Newcastle check out the website www.thestand.co.uk  ad you can book tickets for their Edinburgh Fringe line-up too.

Reviewed by Geoff

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Susan Calman: Constantly Seeking Susan

****

4 Stars

Susan Calman, diminutive, former corporate lawyer and now stand-up veteran, with a growing radio career is a local, well nearly, she hails from Glasgow, and is well known to me as a regular performer at the Stand Comedy Club. This however this was the first time I had seen her do a whole hours set.

Starting by trying to find out the reasons people chose to see her show and getting the ice broken, Calman was in her element. Mostly I’ve seen her as a compere so this was just like any other gig. However, instead of handing over to someone else, her main theme of show took place instead. Whilst drunk one evening Susan wrote her own obituary which she reads us and then goes on to explain the reasons for what she wrote with anecdote to illustrate the words.

Ms Calman, or The Calminator, as she like to be known at times, is an extremely funny and well educated woman, and has an innate Glasgow sense of humour that stands her in good stead.

The mid week house was pretty full, such is the reputation she has bee gathering in recent times, and I’m sure one and all went away satisfied with the entertainment they had been offered.

****

Reviewed by Geoff

Underbelly Belly Laugh V61

5 to 29 August

20-10 to 21-10

Fringe Brochure P128

Susan Calman Chats Up

3 stars

***

It seemed slightly odd to disappear into a cave during a lovely sunny day, but I was intrigued to see what this latest addition to the ever-growing number of lunchtime chat shows had to offer.  Of course, it had Susan Calman, always a welcome feature to any show I’ve found, and it also promised to offer up a taster of some other acts on the show.

Calman is a very engaging compere and easy to warm to, which is just as well as she was giving us tips on how to be a better audience.  In the wrong hands this veer into becoming patronising but Calman soon had us all agreeing to smile at comedians even when they weren’t very good, and to stay in our seats for the duration of a show.

Once the crowd was suitably warmed up Calman intoroduced the first act: Comedy Bitch.  They performed a couple of sketches from their longer show and then stuck about to have a chat.  There weren’t really any revelations made, apart from the fact that their names stems from an act of desperation upon the listings deadline approaching.  However, they seemed ameniable enough and the material they showcased provided the requisite chuckles.

Next on the bill was Jeremy Lion who, to be totally honest, wasn’t really to my taste.  I found his act a bit tedious although others around me enjoyed it.  Finally Loretta Maine took to the stage to perform a song from her set.  The ensuing chat was fairly entertaining, with Maine coming across as a slightly more lucid version of Courtney Love.

All in all a nice gentle hour of entertainment.  I daresay you’ll find similar fare across the various venues, but if you want to try something away from the main venues then seek out some Calman in the Caves.

Reviewed by Di

Venue: Just the Tonic @ the Caves

12.55pm