Review: Long Live Comedy – The Dog and Parrot, Newcastle
The Dog and Parrot is a dark, alternative bar tucked away on the edge of town, and an unlikely environment for comedy. Usually the funniest thing about this bar is that unidentifiable lingering odour – but George Zach and Long Live Comedy deftly transformed the upper-floor function room into a bustling, warm, and receptive comedy venue.
Over 3 sections, the night took us through 11 acts, and just as many comedic approaches. Marc Smethurst opened the night in style, with a strong personality and a warm style reminiscent of the likes of Chris Ramsey and Russell Kane.
The show progressed with a selection of rookies, local circuit veterans, and professionals.
Newcomers Lee Moore and Nick Hall are both armed with good material, but lack onstage confidence, which unfortunately dampened the audience response – although nobody was disparaging of their attempts.
The more experienced Sally Jones and Alistair Greaves dealt with both stage and audience with ease, and their material benefits as a result, receiving a high level of both laughter and applause.
Along with the more “conventional” observations of the above performers, Long Live Comedy unexpectedly presented some glorious Paul Foot-esque alternative comedy, including a German caricature known only as “Gunther”; Jackie Hagan’s abstract world-view; and some very theatrical black comedy to close the night.
Personal highlights included new material from the professional comic John Scott; and the effortless style of Jack Morris, whose affable persona created coherence between the breadth of observations within his set.
I was unsure what to expect from this open mic night, but the quality of acts blew me away. Chortle were well justified in awarding Long Live Comedy with the title of ‘best Northern comedy venue’ in their annual awards a few years back, and I certainly look forward to future events.
Date of live review: Tuesday 3rd May 2011.