John-Paul Stephenson

Review: Barbara Nice, Sean Turner, Bethany Black, Nathan Caton & Dave Johns – Newcastle Stand

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

Tonight’s show at The Stand was a stark reminder that so many factors can determine a gig’s success.

Compering duties this week fell to Barbara Nice, whose friendly, mothering persona came in handy throughout the evening when she had to remind some punters of the etiquette of the venue, i.e. shut the fuck up while the acts are on.

Sean Turner suffered the most from a handful of annoyingly-loud audience members. The audience was initially receptive to his surrealistic impressions and elaborate puns, but when the rowdier punters decided to submit unsolicited material, jokes were interrupted and punchlines undermined. To his credit, Turner held his nerve and persevered in the spirit of professionalism. Personally, I would have bottled it.

Bethany Black got the night back on track with rabble-rousing gags about oral sex, some which tiptoed across the line, and some that merrily skipped away from the line, leaving it looking lonely in the distance. However, even her Friday-night friendly material was interrupted by a handful of people who insisted on talking.

The final straw came when one of the drunken hecklers slumped over his table during Nathan Caton’s act. Venue staff eventually succeeded in ‘moving him on’, with the encouragement of Caton and the rest of the crowd. Although there was little sympathy for the guy who was partially responsible for sabotaging Turner’s ambitious routine, Caton was arguably a little harsh on his girlfriend as she followed her evicted partner.

It sent the warning that this behaviour wouldn’t be tolerated at The Stand, whose rules against heckling and talking during performances are difficult to miss.

However even headliner Dave Johns, the most experienced act on the bill, seemed to struggle with interruptions. The seasoned professional handled it all masterfully, and his attempt to embrace hecklers by creating a routine on-the-spot was admirable.

The acts earned their money tonight, with Barbara Nice standing out as an effective compere.

A compere and four other comedians appear at the Newcastle Stand each Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.