Review: Seymour Mace, Hayley Ellis, Danny Deegan and Andy Fury – Sunderland Empire
Yet again the Sunderland Empire played host to ‘Laughter Live’, a small, intimate gig – and tonight it was jam packed with talent.
This time on the comedy menu was our compère local comic Andy Fury, Mancunian funny man Danny Deegan, feisty Hayley Ellis and headlining the night was the weirdly wonderful Seymour Mace.
With this bunch you get a complete feast of comedy, each bringing something different to the table and quite simply they provide you with a bloody good laugh.
First up was our warm and welcoming MC Andy Fury, whose witty banter glued the evening together neatly. Fury was completely relaxed as he warmed up the crowd, using the audience as the main source of his material.
As with any small crowd, audience participation can be hard to conjure up without a sea of faces to hide behind but he managed to achieve this with ease. With such tales as his hatred of trips to IKEA and all things D.I.Y, Fury comes across as the type of lad you would want to go down the pub with. He seems effortlessly funny.
Next up, welcomed to the stage by Fury’s Mexican wave inspired round of applause, was Danny Deegan.
With a strong and seemingly up beat opening, comparing his looks to that of Mick Jagger or on occasion a lesbian, he soon hit a slight rough patch as the audience went deadly silent. Whether it be the audience size or Deegan’s material simply not jelling well, it seemed like he was done for.
Using past gig anecdotes he told of his usual habit of dying half way through gigs but explained he had now reached his all time personal best, as this was the first time he had done so only a quarter way through.
Nevertheless he soon recovered using an overtly aggressive tone almost demanding the audience’s laughter, which momentarily was a tad uncomfortable. Turning events such as his Grandma’s birthday into a dark and sinister affair, he guides us through a comedic rant that makes you chuckle to your core. He cleverly makes you laugh instantly until it occurs to you that you shouldn’t really be doing so considering the subject matter.
Despite his shaky start with the audience the interaction he uses for the climax of his performance makes up for it. Honing in on one member of the crowd he provides some truly unique and funny sex tips generating his biggest laugh.
Next to take the stage next was another Manchester export, Haley Ellis, who only started her stand up adventure in 2009.
Small in stature yet big in energy, Ellis brings laughter about with an insight into her previous employment. With highly amusing tales such as her failings as a super market cashier, she incorporates music into her performance taking a different approach to stand up which is very entertaining. Dealing with a few rowdy members of the audience played to her strengths, as she mocks vigorously but in such a way that no offence can be taken as it simply makes you laugh.
Shortly followed our main act Seymour Mace. With such awards under his belt as City Life Comedian of the Year in 2003 and Best Breakthrough Act at the North West Comedy Awards in 2004, tonight we clearly see why he earned these titles.
Ever wondered how the ostrich came about? Mace was at hand to explain all.
The Jarrow born comic has clearly taken a sharp U-turn from the mainstream and delved directly into unique and strangely surreal territory. In such a small room Mace’s presence was intensely felt, as he owned the stage from the minute he stepped on it.
Using his whole body as a comedy tool he simply oozed funny. His approach to stand up is inventive and unlike any other doing the circuit at the moment. Participation from the audience was not sought after as his act came straight from the inner workings of his mind – which must be said is rather disturbing at times but always extremely funny.
With his ability to think outside the box he delivered a rather fetching dance routine with a slight costume change mid act. One of his talents comes from being able to see the humour in the mundane segments of life and that’s something we can all relate too.
Four different comics, one simple out come – laughs aplenty.