A Rush of Laughter

Comedy Club
The Lantern Theatre
Sunday 3rd June 2012

Reviewed by Jennifer Keegan

We were uncharacteristically early for the gig and, as we sat in the beautifully eclectic bar having a pre-show drink, we saw the owner and compere stressing out over the volume of music coming from the restaurant downstairs, apparently a wedding reception was to put a dampener on our stand up show. The volume was intense, the pounding coming up through the floor but to my surprise, rather than ruin the show, it provided the comics with a universal joke and, with slightly higher volume on the mikes, our stand up show proceeded.

First out of the stalls was Danny Sutcliffe who seemed at ease with the audience, apart from a few notes scribbled on his hand. He got laughs with gags about his children being 2 and 6 years old and that he would happily sell them for 2 and 6 in old money. He assured us he was no relation to the Yorkshire ripper and made a few jokes at his hometown’s expense. Although is set didn’t feel natural, he did have an air of ease to his personality, it seemed a little disjointed in parts but he did achieve great laughs, especially with his card trick gone wrong and bitter girlfriend gag. I would look out for him in the future as his likeable personality promises great things to come.

Next on was Tom O’Dare, a last minute addition to the line-up, I assume, as his name was not advertised. I had seen Tom before at an amateur night and although he did get big laughs I was unimpressed. I hoped he would surprise me but unfortunately his set was shaky. He used a lot of one-liners, with ladybirds and the Greek crisis driving a lot of simply formatted jokes. At the amateur night he fitted in with comics who are still developing their talent, but tonight I felt sorry for him as he was a little out of his depth.

Upping the ante next was the wonderful Steve Bugeja, he has a likeable charm and immediately hit the right notes for the audience with jokes about being young and therefore very proud he could grow and maintain a beard. His admission that he was bad at sex and had taken some advice from friends – treat it like the board game operation, get in and out without touching the sides – got a massive laugh and some applause. Whilst jokes about his Dad making dinner for the dog, aka Stepmum, went down a treat, especially when he explained that it was his Mum’s favourite joke, and that she had written it. He had the audience eating out of his hand as they lapped up his humour and style. I would highly recommend him and will keep an eye out for his name in future.

Our headliner was the superb talent that is Mark Rough, a veteran on the comedy circuit his experience was obvious as he told story after story, entwined with jokes and observations which had the audience howling with laughter. With a bit of heckling from the crowd he indulged two buxom women with a bit of banter before firmly and amusingly putting them back in their place and resuming centre stage. His observations about schoolboys complaining about teachers in their early twenties having sex with them left him baffled as he regrets that never happened to him. Explaining how his sister had called him for advice about her husband’s dandruff got a laugh since Mark is bald, but then he pushed it further when he told her to give him head and shoulders, she replied by asking how she could give him shoulders which raised a massive laugh from the crowd. Mark’s talent is undeniable; he has a presence and ease on the stage that only comes with experience. He got massive laughs and an encore, a true comic talent.

As always the night was held together by the wonderful compere Adam Rushton, and he could look on tonight with pride as it was definitely a roaring success. A Rush of Laughter, it seems, is really starting to gather momentum and I for one am really looking forward to next month!

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