Thursday was the night for the July comedy session at We Are Most Amused, at the Queen Victoria in Northampton. My good friend, Mark West, and I went along for our now monthly fix of someone else doing comedy. The venue is not large, but it can hold quite a lot of bodies, last night was no exception.
As usual Donna Scott had put together a list of seven acts, three of whom I had definitely seen before. It should be noted that Donna puts this gig together pretty much alone and takes the task seriously – so it is only right to offer thanks to her right here; thanks!
The first of the seven was new to me, Aaron Twitchen; a camp act but unlike so many other camp acts it was not too in your face (a joke in there surely?). He held the room quickly and bounced off the crowd sure footedly. A great way to start the evening.
Second was Jay Handley; he has a look of someone famous (don’t want to spoil it but think of Robert Powell’s most famous role for a clue). Unfortunately for Jay someone pointed this out as he reached the stage and his opening gambit was knocked sideways. He found his feet again though and got on pretty well, apart from a slightly misjudged joke about the government. I liked him a lot.
Third up was Lou Chauner, well what is there to say? I had seen Lou once before and one of his gags had lodged itself firmly in my head because it was brilliant – this gig was exactly the same. He has presence, charisma, put-downs. He deserves to be an headline act in the future – a master class.
Fourth was Shaun Jacques; I thought he had come ready packed to leave in a hurry but no, he was doing a ventriloquist act with a mini-me out of a suitcase. He had the technique and some good material, although his use of an audience member was risky as it seemed to rely heavily on getting a pliable type up. What he did was great fun though, especially as my good friend Mark was the one who was pulled from the crowd. I cried, mainly because it is really satisfying to see your best buddy really taken advantage of like that. Mark was a great sport and in addition brought much to the act, his body-popping belies his age, his one, two, three Mexican style wave was amusing and his eyes were so expressive – Gromit in human form! Mark needs to get an act as a mime pretty quickly; cheers buddy. (As an aside I think it is really great to see Shaun try something a bit different, and for me it is about time that good ventriloquist acts came back into vogue)
Fifth up was another new one for me, Albert Smith; low key and slightly dead pan. Albert did a bit about his background, bus trips and flags. For his slow and deliberate delivery he came across well, but his finish was both startling and lacking finesse.
Number six was Alex Crowther. He had nice stage presence, a happy and engaging face and some good material. A good act but I would like him to “own” the material a bit more.
And lastly was Nigel Lovell, all the way up from London he said; his was an intelligent act (yes even the abundance of puns in the closing section) which I liked very much. His set ups were smart and snappy; his way of incorporating those puns was effective. A fine end to the evening.
Much merriment after the gig ended. This comedy lark, even for me just watching, really is infectious. Cheers again to Donna for her efforts.