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Gags, songs and bombs: Chuckle Sandwich

Thursday, 25 August, 2011

An hour of free, late night comedy

First up for this hour of free, late-night comedy is comedic songstress Kate Lucas with a few taboo-shattering songs about her sexual relationship with an elderly woman and how she brutally murdered a cashier at Santander. The Ballad of Janine which was pinnacle of her performance, encouraging the audience to join in a resounding chorus of “Give me back my money Santander”. Kate Lucas’ saccharine delivery is run up against her dark humour but provides her audience with nothing unfamiliar in contemporary comedy. Particularly the prickly, deliberately awkward delivery of some punch lines which was been growing ever frequent on the stand-up comedy set since the emergence of Slough’s infamous export David Brent. Indeed, all three performers seem to tackle a particularly difficult audience with such an approach to their delivery, Lucas seems most guilty of it; she seemed to lack her own comedic persona, even when performing her songs which  on the whole were well-written and funny.

Next was stand-up comic Tez Ilyas, who provided the most impressive performance of the hour with a set centred around his religious beliefs as a Muslim and braving the topic of the London riots. Presumably no mean feat at this year’s Festival as the news is so current, although most likely already well-trodden on the stand-up circuit. Tez Ilyas takes to it with gusto, assuming a similar haltingly awkward style as Kate Lucas but pulling it off with a more direct sense of humour, outwardly critical to hecklers and displaying moments of great wit when discussing his home in Brixton. The lack of enthusiasm from his audience seemed to throw him a little, as it did with all three performers, which made for occasionally uncomfortable viewing, as it seemed many of their punch lines and wise cracks needed a stronger reaction.

Gary Tro polishes off our evening with some more stand-up comedy. Warm and giggly, he goes through the motions of identifying the two Dutch men in the first row as the other two performers had done before. There was the feeling throughout each set that the audience were not playing their part, and it was a little uncomfortable to watch. Gary Tro seems taken aback by the tentative audience breaction but launched headlong into his cynical slightly absurd brand of comedy. He performs with enthusiasm, he enjoys every situation or idea he is describing which makes for an enjoyable set, with a handful of laugh out loud moments.

Performers: Tez Ilyas, Kate Lucas, Gary Tro

reviewed 18 August 2011

(c) Alexandra Kavanagh 2011

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