Jake Massey

Review: Rob Deering, Andy Robinson, Louis Ramey & Ian Coppinger – Durham Gala Theatre

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On the first Sunday of every month the Durham Gala Theatre fills for The Comedy Store, and based on tonight’s line-up, you can see why.

Pint-sized compere Ian Coppinger opens proceedings with a healthy dollop of self-deprecation, served with a side of Irish stereotypes, citing the joys of a 9am Sherry on Christmas Day. Indeed, what Coppinger lacks in height (at a confessed standing of 5’2) he makes up for with an abundance of charm and playful interaction with the audience.

By contrast, the first act to take to the stage is a huge presence, not just physically. Louis Ramey’s comic talent has plucked him from his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, and taken him all around the world, earning him a wealth of experience which he uses to superb effect tonight. His incredible poise and smooth delivery have the entirety of the audience captivated, while his range of edifying facial expressions and impeccable sound effects embellish his flawless material.

Ramey exhibits the admirable ability to conjure comedy from awkwardness, continually turning his attention to a front row father’s daughters and referencing his preference of a taser to a red rose. At times, the audience is scarcely allowed to catch their breath, as his lewd lampooning brings the house down.

The laughs keep coming as Andy Robinson expresses a quintessentially British outlook, endearing himself to the audience through his wicked wit and amiable tone. His evidently relaxed and harmless nature allows him to pull off both childish puns and risqué topical jibes; both of which he clearly revels in. Robinson’s class is patently evidenced as a technical fault prevents him administering the punch line to a lengthy gag, a situation which would have derailed a lesser comic, but he is able to manipulate this failing to his advantage with some outstanding improvisation.

Upon the arrival of final act Rob Deering and his ‘piece of wood’, there is no doubt many punters are immediately sceptical about a comic who requires an instrument to administer gags. However, within minutes they too were baring a grin as huge as Deering’s. His sophisticated array of pedals and impressive musical skills enable him to recreate pop and rock classics, delivered with delightful comic twists. From Eminem and The Prodigy, to Eric Clapton and The Beach Boys, Durham is unable to resist his fantastically executed musical satire. However, Deering is by no means a one-trick-pony, and is just as skilled comically as he is musically, creating just as many laughs with his guitar in its stand. A truly unique performer, Deering is a must-see.

Tonight The Comedy Store has treated Durham to a top notch line-up of comedians (all shapes and sizes), without the hassle of travelling to their flagship venues. Roll on next month’s showing.

Date of live review: Sunday 3 March 2013.