A Rush of Laughter Goes Gong

The Lantern Theatre
Friday 25th May 2012

Reviewed by Jennifer Keegan

The premise of ‘going gong’ was simple, ten acts, 5 minute sets, one gong to send them back to their practicing ground if the audience didn’t approve. Our Gong Master was to be Adam Rushton and everything sounded promising. At least until Liverpool was hit by a heat wave and the audience decided to stay in their respective beer gardens rather than show up to the gig. It was obvious to all that there were more comics than customers, and I worried the show would be an epic failure, but Rushton decided to soldier on, minus the gong approach and lead a good, simple stand up show.

The comics were all non-professionals, but that didn’t stop them making the small audience laugh along, some seemed nervous, Kearny who seemed to hold his can of lemonade like a child would hold a security blanket, whilst others like Tavner seemed totally at ease. Ikbar seemed to struggle whilst Mellor got great laughs with her relaxed approach and jokes about child labour being arts and crafts. Walker stumbled with an uncomfortable 9/11 joke as Briscow soared with road rage quips. O’Dare raised the biggest laughs of the night with his old school one liners and Riley was warmly received with his funny Olympics gags. My favourite came next as Fong joked about being a Miranda Hart lookalike, he stood out as having a natural ability and style, whilst Edgey was amusing with his blind vs. deaf war jokes. Osborne was last and ended on a high with barista/barrister quips and an A-Team tribute.

If Rushton was worried about the night being a washout due to the poor turnout, he didn’t let it show, after comically breaking the mike stand, he went on to have us laughing all night with gags about sexually abusing himself. Whether it was a perfectly timed phone call, or an attempt to rescue the night, he told us he had an unexpected offer, if we could stick around after the show, Sully O’Sullivan would pop into the theatre and do a quick set. After seeing O’Sullivan before and liking him, I gladly had another drink. As we waited, Fong, from earlier in the night offered to keep up the entertainment, and it was here he proved himself to be a great comic with jokes about movie titles describing peoples sex life among others with which he seemed more confident than he had earlier on. O’Sullivan came and did about 20minutes of what appeared to be free flow material. With off the cuff gags and nothing planned, he simply strode around the audience, which at this point included the comics, and made observations and jokes at our expense. O’Sullivan is an outstanding talent and this impromptu gig showed his natural ability and presence on the stage to be something all the non-professionals could aspire to.

Overall, a disjointed evening, but still very enjoyable. I think Rushton’s perseverance showed there is no such thing as a disaster at The Lantern, only a chance to deviate from the plan and do things a little differently.

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