Valentine’s Comedy Night

Star Rating: ***
Compass Comedy
Compass Theatre
Sunday 12th February 2017
Ickenham, Middlesex

Nothing says I love you more than a pre-Valentine’s comedy night out in Ickenham … said absolutely no one except myself! Maybe that explained the unusually, overwhelmingly male audience. The place was pretty full with approximately 90% men. Maybe the ladies were saving themselves for Tuesday night. This was quite some change from the usual female dominated audiences you find at comedy shows.

It made for an entertaining night as the guys often gave as good as they got in terms of wisecracks, creating a jovial atmosphere all round between compere and audience.
Regular Compere Lewis Bryan was superb at warming up the room between acts. He was witty and excelled at getting humour from most audience members he engaged with. We had quite an interesting cross-section of audience members – tube workers, engineers, jet setting Librarians (Singapore and USA!!), accountants, local thespians and even a metallurgist – not to be confused with a meteorologist as Lewis so obviously did!

Compere Lewis Bryan

Compere Lewis Bryan

I loved it when upon realising there was one American in the audience he asked if it’s true that American’s are over emotional and Julie Holmes from Arizona, USA, shouted right back at him “No We Aren’t” in a loud, overly emotional naturally American voice. A brilliantly funny response that had the place in stitches.

Considering it was the start of Valentine’s week, curiously there seemed to be a distinct lack of love in the air. Certainly there wasn’t much that was lovey-dovey from the hard-edged, blunt speaking opening act Sarah Callaghan. She’s a local comedian from the borough of Hillingdon. She had some funny one liners in her show and admittedly some were a little old as I recall hearing them before , but they struck a chord with the audience. The Grand Canyon routine was a particularly good, original one. I think some more levity, less harshness and a slowing down in her delivery wouldn’t go amiss. The coarseness just seemed somewhat uncalled for, especially from the opening performer.

Sarah Callaghan

Sarah Callaghan

Nathan Willcock  wasn’t the night’s headliner but at around 9”6 (or something nearly as ridiculously tall) his head was almost touching the ceiling of Compass Comedy! His set alas didn’t reach the same heights as his head, but the Nat King Cole and Chris Eubank were very good “visual” gags. That’s quite a USP there and if I were him I’d develop a lot more of those and see how many gags he can get out of that set up. The Brexit material was a fine, topical idea, but until Nathan can work up some funnier routines I think that part of the show should Brexit his set for the time being.

Sam Luttit a, young man with floppy hair read a stream of one liners from his notebook. These needed more work to achieve their aim of being pithy, funny, one liners. This was only his 3rd ever gig so good on him for having a go and I’m sure he can only improve on this if he works hard at it. It takes a lot of time writing material allied to plenty of stage time delivering jokes to develop your comedy craft. I think Lewis’ accidental teasing at the changeover was uncalled for considering Sam’s obvious inexperience.

Irish woman Catherine Bohart was very funny. She was composed, polished and confident. I liked her. She chose to “out” herself early one and did some fine stuff on the topic of sexuality. What made it even more interesting and personal was that it was set against the personal backdrop of her having a Deacon for a father! She even talked about – and this surely has to be a first for a comedy gig – transubstantiation – which I’m sure you of course well know is “the change of substance by which the bread and the wine offered in the sacrifice of the sacrament of the Eucharist during the Mass, become, in reality, the body and blood of Jesus Christ …!”  Jokes as well as religious education at Compass Comedy! Amen to that. It was a Sunday after all.

Headliner Jay Sodagar was a fine closing act. In what was a mix of newer and experienced comedians he shone out as quite a seasoned, well-travelled comedian. He played on some of the stereotypes surrounding his Asian ethnicity to good effect and was well received by the audience.

It’s always nice to come across new talent interspersed with more more experienced acts too.

Review © Tiemo Talk of the Town

Lewis Bryan photograph courtesy of Julie Holmes

The next show in the current season is on Sunday 12th March 2017, 8pm. £5 entry. Details and on-line booking

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