Luke Milford

Review: Barry Dodds, Gordon Smith, Liam Frost, Ben Lawes and Danny Deegan – The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle

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Giggle Beats

The Laughing Penguin's Club Nights Returned On Wednesday.

The Bridge Hotel in Newcastle is a brilliant venue for live comedy. Like all Laughing Penguin nights, tonight’s show took place in the upstairs of the pub and acted as a very intimate setting for an evening of comedy.

The night began with MC Danny Deegan getting proceedings under way with some good interaction with the small crowd. The venue wasn’t quite as full as it could have been, so Deegan pointed this out early on and played on it in his bantering with the audience. The comic had a quite confrontational on-stage persona – a style which I personally like – however as a lot of the crowd weren’t willing to get involved he became more and more offensive as the night wore on. In the end he resorted to insulting the whole city of Newcastle, bit still got little reaction from the crowd.

Opening tonight’s show was Ben Lawes. I left The Bridge Hotel with mixed views of Lawes – his one-liners went down well and got some good laughs from the crowd, but I felt his longer routines let him down. His feed-lines showed promise but Lawes’ routines perhaps lacked the big belly laugh punch-lines that can win over a tough crowd like this.

The next section of the night featured two greener comics, and gave Gordon Smith and Liam Frost the chance to try out their newer material. First up was new act Liam Frost. Frost showed a lot of promise in his short set, and he had a lively on-stage presence. His material shows potential, however – and the time limit might have factored into this – he seemed to rush through his set, never letting the audience sit and appreciate the previous joke. Still, this is a minor issue and Liam Frost is an act who has great potential.

Next up was Gordon Smith, and, as far as an original concept is concerned, was one of my stand-out acts of the night. Smith took to the stage with a boom box – he used it to perform his sixty second gag reel –  which was an excellent and original concept that went down very well with the crowd, bringing one of the loudest laughs of the night from both the crowd and this reviewer. I enjoyed every minute of Gordon Smith’s time on stage.

The final act of the night was Barry Dodds, who has been reviewed twice in recent weeks for Giggle Beats. You can find reviews of him here and here. Dodds closed the night off with ease and style, and is a talented comic with some memorable routines.

Before I leave, I’d like to add that The Laughing Penguin’s nights are ran by a lovely comedy organiser named Hayley Craine. The passion she expressed when chatting with me speaks volumes for her enthusiasm for the local comedy scene – hopefully this is a comedy night that is going to succeed – and I encourage everybody reading this review to get involved and support the North East comedy scene. Their next nights will be on November 16th and November 17th for their New Act Of The Year Final, judged by top local comics and promoters, and also Giggle Beats’ editor Andrew Dipper.