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RAVAGED SPLEEN COMEDY NIGHT
GPT SMOKEHOUSE

 

This new venture is organised and compered by Josh McGrillen. Perhaps ‘organised’ is too strong a word, your hero mounting the stage 15 minutes after the advertised start time to say we’ll be starting in 5 minutes, and shambling on 10 minutes after that to point out there’s no mike stand and address a few of the audience by name. Not only is there no mike stand, but the mike only works intermittently; the room is lit, but the stage, littered with junk and old furniture, isn’t. This is starting to look like a sitcom about a bad comedy club. But, six comics and a compere for four quid, maybe one shouldn’t complain. First up is Daniel Fitz-Henry, ‘Fitz’, who faces up amiably to the chaos, some of which is, of course, just funny of itself; and tells try-out jokes in fits and starts from bits of paper in his pocket, a fair few of which are actually funny. John McInnes follows, unfazed by the unreliable mike. He has a slow, laconic delivery and a pleasingly skewed view on life’s oddities, his left-field deadpan gags producing plenty of laughs. Peter Jones’ set consists in large part of rambling about his hair, and about the chaos onstage, but he is warm and likeable and when he does an imaginative routine about an argument between the sun and the moon, very funny. David Hoare has to get an audience member up to perform the role of mike stand, since he can’t hold a guitar and a mike at the same time, which doesn’t dampen the comic effect of his powerfully delivered and very sharp songs. Angie Belcher, though, takes no prisoners; eschews the mike and the unlit stage; and delivers a well-rehearsed, perfectly timed and forceful set around some of the odder incidents of her life as a comic. Great stuff. Last up is Andy Field, whose wandering set, again with try-out gags from a crib sheet, is mostly about his love relationship with cannabis. Sort of quaint; I thought jokes about weed went out with Cheech and Chong in the seventies. But there are some interesting quirky gags in and among the stoner ramblings, and the evening draws to its mildly shambolic close. What this portends for the future ravaging of spleens remains to be seen.
*** – 3 Stars
                                                                                         John Christopher Wood