Review: Stu And Garry, Richard Gadd, John Whale, Tommy Reid, James Kirk & Tony Jameson – The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle
Last Wednesday evening I had the good fortune to attend The Laughing Penguin’s Christmas show at the Bridge Hotel in Newcastle. The night was compered by Tony Jameson, a regular face on the circuit and founder member of The Laughing Penguin. Tony’s energetic and affable style makes him a great choice of host. The room was warm and receptive and Tony had no problem getting the laughs rolling with some audience interaction. At one point he struck comedy gold with one member of the audience, but I won’t say too much because it’s something he’d be foolish not to use again. Tony’s a real asset to these nights.
The night was kicked off with a couple of newer comedians, James Kirk and Tommy Reid. Opening was James Kirk, a relative newcomer to the scene and winner of the annual So You Think You’re Funny? competition. When he steps on stage it’s hard not to notice the nerves but you soon realise that they play well into his act and he harnesses them to great effect. With a lot of his jokes you think you can see the punch line coming from a mile off, before he takes it down another route entirely catching you off guard with some great pull backs and unexpected laughs.
Up and coming comedian Tommy Reid followed up with a fairly solid set. Basing his material around his own experiences, mainly relating to his dyslexia, the audience warmed to Tommy with ease. There were a few rough edges but it did not detract from his set.
Next up after the break was John Whale, easily the darkest act of the night. It’s not hard to see where Whale draws his influences from in his style and delivery, but his material is unique and strong and enough to set him apart. His set is clearly a work in progress, but he works the missed laughs into his act and is never in danger of losing the audience. With some very strong punchlines and a great sense of timing, it’s a pleasure to see John work.
The Laughing Penguin New Act Of The Year 2010, Richard Gadd followed straight after and was the surprise package of the evening. Given the tear streaked faces of the audience throughout his set, I think I can safely say he was the favourite act for most in attendance, and you can see why. His act is very much a parody of a new wave of comedians straight out of ‘comedy school’ and is a delight to behold. With plenty of anti-comedy and seemingly endless energy, he commands the room to great effect and the laughter is non-stop. I cannot recommend Richard Gadd enough – go and see him as soon as you can.
The headline act for the night was the fantastic improv duo, Stu & Garry. The chemistry between these two experienced comedians is clear for all to see as soon as they step on the stage. With their quick wit and ability to portray characters at a moment’s notice their set passed by so quickly everyone was left wanting more. Stu and Garry have no material to start with other than a few “games”, and rely on the audience to provide suggestions for scenes or characters for them to act out. With a certain amount of silliness and a lot of very quick thinking the set passed by in a haze of laughter and applause in seemingly no time. Stu And Garry were a great act to finish the night.
The Laughing Penguin are one of the most successful of the recent comedy nights in Newcastle and rightly so. With fantastic acts, a great venue and a good sense of what comedy should be their success is ensured to continue. Their next night is January 19th, and for only a fiver, I couldn’t recommend it enough. You might even get some free cake. For more information on their upcoming nights visit www.thelaughingpenguin.co.uk.