Pocket Change Comedy

Monday, 23 August, 2010

New Players Theatre, Saturday 14th August, 8pm (1hour, no interval)

Dud Fivers

Pocket change Comedy is a weekly Saturday night offering at the New Players Theatre under the arches near Charing Cross.  This stand up gig was performed in the theatre’s bar area to a rowdy crowd of about 50.

This venue is not ideal as a gig space with a staircase going through the middle of the room which means the audience has to fight for the sofa at the front of the bar.  If you were situated anywhere else you would need to make sure your hearing was tip top, since not only are the acoustics terrible, but the compere of the night (Ross Noble) seems to have forgotten the use of diction. No doubt what he was saying was probably amusing but there was only a slight titter throughout the room because unless you were sat at the front the likelihood of hearing much was zero.

The first stand up of the night was Rob Thomas, it was a poor start which was probably a product of nerves – he just didn’t play to the room but only the people sat at the front on sofas.  Half way through the set, only the crowd could be heard over the comedy. His performance was predictable with jokes about suicide bombers, the tube, and an impression of Bin Laden which sounded Spanish; there was no original material here.

The next stand up was Russ Powell originally from Brighton. He seemed very comfortable in front of the crowd with great opening gags and one-liners similar to Jimmy Carr.  The audience we engaged and constantly giggling throughout.  His jokes were about driving tests, French, road names and he even attempted a song which was a good effort even if it didn’t quite come off. Ross Powell has potential for the future as he was able to interact with the audience and perform with ease.

After Ross Powell was Kate Lucas who stole the whole evening with her musical comedy. Dressed in a little black dress, hoop earrings and striking red hair she started her set off with her bright blue guitar. The first comedic song was about getting it on with someone in her ex’s back garden, great delivery and excellent singing, because of the acoustic and sound system unfortunately the title of songs were sometimes lost.  She received the loudest applause of the evening. Her humour was dry and dark and her jokes about being single had some of the crowd at the back of the room crying with tears. Other songs were about Jeremy Kyle and the BNP. Her comedy and her presence were by far the best of the evening.  If this act hasn’t an agent yet she should have and definitely has a future in comedy.

Last stand-up of the evening was Jag Ghankas. He had the most interesting look with wacky hair, but his comedy was uneventful.  From the moment he was introduced his set fell flat, with poor delivery and no comedic timing, this set seemed doomed to fail from the start. None of his jokes seemed to have punch lines or even any obvious jokes; it seemed like an internal monologue that didn’t flow with pauses in between most subjects as though he had forgotten what he was about to speak about. In these pauses he uses the word “f***ing” a lot, which seemed really irrelevant and inappropriate.  He had one good moment where he joked about dating, but this was the only highlight of his set. Mid way through the audience seemed to be talking between themselves and more happy just drinking their pints.

If the acoustic and seating arrangement could be improved this would be a great venue for up and coming comedians to gig.  Russ Powell and Kate Lucas were the stand out comedians of this evening, but other than that there was a lot of mediocre comedy with a very self indulgent compere.

Compere: Ross Nolan: Comedians (in order of appearance):  Rob Thomas, Russ Powell, Kate Lucas, Jag Ghankas


(c) Rebecca Talbot 2010


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