A change of pace today – well, it is the weekend – with a visit to a show in a more standard comedy club style format rather than the hour long solo shows we are mostly seeing.
The big draw on the advertised bill Tom Stade turned out to be compering, meaning that we got only a few tasters of his great material. A powerful and suave stage presence, Stade is a masterful act and controlled the room effortlessly, but I can’t help wishing he’d been headlining, and would love to see him do an hour show sometime.
First up was Lindsay Webb an Aussie act who I later found out has done the Edinburgh Festival five times – it just goes to show how massive that festival is (or how dozy I am) but I wasn’t familiar with him until this point. His first joke turned me off, having as a central premise the false idea that an Ecstacy tab is likely to produce extreme hallucinations but from this point on a relentless and energetic succession of good material soon had me over my grump and stopping analysing the comedy and just plain enjoying it. His characterisations of seagulls and crows were particularly strong showing a good talent for mimicry – a strong act all round.
Gordon Southern has been a regular on the UK circuit since before I became involved over ten years ago but is now married to an Adelaide girl (it can happen) so has spent a fair bit of time over here and was able to throw out some strong observations on local themes. He got good laughs on the subject of bogans (a sort of Adelaide equivalent to the chav – a metal-loving, denim-clad, big car driving sub-class). He possibly went a step too far tho when he bagged (another local term) the big local V8 car race – it was good comedy in terms of highlighting the way it legitimises some of the behaviour that bogans are themselves bagged for but had the unfortunate effect of alienating quite a bit of the audience who were happy enough to laugh at the bogan stuff but were probably fans of the big car race. Gordon worked hard to get the crowd back on his side using a wide range of the tricks in the comedy book to do so with reasonable success by the end of his set.
There followed an interval which enabled the table next to us to carry on their loud and drunken conversation unencumbered by interuption from the stage (all venues note – crowd control is so very imporant at this kind of event – just because people are sitting at the back doesn’t mean they don’t want to listen to the show).
The next act turned out to be one of the people sat at the noisy table which didn’t endear us to her straight away (tho her friends did shut up whilst she was on). Fiona O’Loughlin is a low key performer and at first I thought she might struggle with a potentially rowdy crowd and such a late slot, but she proved to be a sure hand and is in fact one of the most popular acts in Australia. Style and content might remind some UK audiences of Jenny Eclair and this world weary and menopausal Mother of five from small rural dustbowl Alice Springs tales a similar delight in contrasting her louche cocktail lounge observations with the prim and proper image and opinions society tends to expect from grown up women.
Finally young Aussie comic Daniel Townes took the stage with some lively tales of his stay in the dour land of England and a brush with danger during a gigging visit to South Africa, tho by this stage I was questioning whether three acts perhaps performing longer sets would be a better format for a late show and the chatter around was rising to ever more irritating levels. We might be seeing Daniel’s one man show tomorrow to get a better idea of what this promising young performer has to offer.