Review: Joe Bromehead, Nick Cranston, Karl White, Mark Rough and Tony Jameson – Bar Rouge, Halifax
Blinking into the world on a balmy evening in West Yorkshire for the first time, The Halifax Comedy Club debuted, offering five comedians, including two advertised headliners in the shape of Mark Rough and Joe Bromehead.
MC Tony Jameson earned his corn early doors as he worked hard with a tepid crowd. Aided by strong confidence on stage and perseverance with the front row of the audience, the likeable Geordie did well to work up some good energy from scratch before handing over to the evening’s first billed headliner, Mark Rough.
Rough, a fairly blue veteran of the Northern scene, hit the stage in a strange mood, as he repeatedly attacked one member of the audience with questionable comic upshot, first moaning about being ill, then his fee and finally complaining he wasn’t closing the show himself.
And once into his act proper, I was disappointed with the material Rough offered. Perhaps his illness affected his performance on the night, but he seemed to struggle with the young age of the audience, pitching jokes beyond their years and resorting frequently to tired insults about nearby villages. His direct style seemed to lack the finesse required to prevent it feeling outdated – at least to this crowd – however Rough’s charm began to win through later in his set and the audience eventually warmed to him.
The evening’s middle spots were occupied by two bright comics, who offered contrasting styles much to the audience’s approval. First up, local act Karl White took to the stage. I spent much of White’s set trying desperately to decide whether he was a fantastic anti-comedy character act or a terribly poor stand-up, riding on a wave of home support. In the end, I just about plumped for the former, and genuinely enjoyed White’s hugely entertaining introverted delivery of the mundane and absurd in his life.
Following on from the popular White, Nick Cranston delivered 10 minutes of slick and well written stand up. An assured stage presence, his routine about a letter of complaint provided plenty of laughs and a strong end to his set. Expect to see more of this man soon.
Closing the first Halifax Comedy Club night was Joe Bromehead. From his first word, Bromehead’s cheeky persona and brilliantly committed prop gags were a winner with the crowd, his opening routine about government adverts a particular favourite for this reviewer.
His set throughout was well received and the material generally strong, though I felt at times Bromehead’s blunt delivery and a couple of punch lines lacked tact; his Lady Gaga material in particular let him down. But Bromehead finished in fine style with a couple of cracking prop gags, leaving the audience thoroughly entertained and eager to see more when this promising comic returns to Halifax supporting Frankie Boyle in the near future.
The Halifax Comedy Club is a welcome addition to Yorkshire’s comedy scene, offering strong bills in a decent space at a modest price. Keep your eyes peeled for more offerings on the first Thursday of every month.