Star rating: *****
Friday 5th December 2014
Middlesex HA4 7DQ
In the penultimate show of the year, Comedy Bunker, presented its audience with another side splittingly funny show starring largely unknown, but unforgettable comedians, not to mention the addition a well known headliner familiar to Eastenders fans.
The show was superbly compered by Mark Cram, the Bedford new Comedian of the year 2014. He nicely warmed up the crowd, engaging and uniting the room in good humoured banter that drew on the humour from those attending extended families present, couples out together and people’s careers. He even found an international angle to the show via one man who’d travelled from Bangkok, Hong Kong to Ruislip to see the show. Well, I say travelled to see the show. That aspect wasn’t exactly clarified and good as Comedy Bunker is, I’m not sure anyone would especially come over from Hong Kong especially to see a show. I suspect he just happened to be on vacation in London.
One area of his show bemused attendees and fell flat. For some inexplicable reason Mark just right out of the blue, apropos of absolutely nothing, announced that he was gay. Not sure if he was expecting a round of applause for that, but seeing as he didn’t strike you as obviously gay I’m sure I’m not the only one who failed to see the point of randomly making such a statement. He didn’t blurt out his religious beliefs or lack of, nor did any other comedian make such pronouncements, so why the compulsion to come out?
He later on asked if there were any gays in the audience. Silence. Why should there be? This is Ruislip, West London, not Soho, what did he expect? He’d be better of keeping to compering and joke telling and leaving his sexuality out of his set … unless there’s humour to be found in it.
Darius Davies introduced himself brilliantly with a witty call back to an anecdote Mark told about travelling on the train to this gig with a man listening to annoyingly loud music on his “personal” headphones. How that was handled by a man on the train was both masterful and wonderful at the same time.
He went on from there to deliver a hilarious set covering international travel, differences between the USA and England and all that’s great about Britain. This was a terrific and very original set. Darius is definitely one to watch for the future.
The third newcomer to me, Luke Graves, was fabulous, with a set covering his dislike of children, everyday life and finding “the one”. He was a very likeable, funny guy, with plenty of witty material and demonstrated a warm, engaging interaction with the audience that was very well received.
Headliner for the night was Ricky Grover. I last saw him some years ago at Rich Mix, Bethnal Green. He was thoroughly entertaining then and even more so again tonight. He had me in tears of laughter with his tales of dates gone wrong, weight issues, psychological complexes, plus the “moment” he caught up with an ex-Marine during, how can we say, an “interval for one”. I’ve never seen anything like it before. It was hilarious.
Like the previous comedians, he also included the audience in his act, be it those on the front rows or those feeling “safe” at the back of the room. He even answered some questions about his time on Eastenders recently (where he played Heather’s partner Andrew between August 2011-August 2012) as the show briefly turned into an impromptu Q&A session.
I’m not sure if he is full-time as a Stand Up Comedian now, but if he is that’s fantastic, as acting’s loss, is stand up comedy’s gain.
Comedy Bunker proved itself one of London’s best comedy clubs in 2014 and without a doubt one of our favourites, where a good time is always guaranteed, with great surprises from unknown comedians as well as famous TV comedians.
I look forward to more of the same in 2015.
© Tiemo Talk of the Town