This was the first time we had been to this particular monthly gig and only the second time that it had been held. Supposedly eight acts with a break after every two, in the end one of the acts dropped out of an evening that was, even by our standards, a bit of a comedy marathon.
We were not quite sure why there was a cardboard cutout of the late John Wayne at the back of the mic area (not a real stage, just a section of floor space) but he did help make up the crowd in the group photo later. See if you can spot him!
Our MC for the evening was Richard James, young, purple shirted and attired, by his own admission, like a snooker player in trousers and suit vest. Confident in his delivery, he told us of a train journey from Exeter, did a fair impersonation of an old lady, and let us know how to play an extremely good lottery prank on someone! Likeable and with even more experience and a bigger set…who knows?
Our opener was well known to us, but always fun to watch…the Welsh import to Plymouth, David Arnold. Mr Arnold bemoaned never being thought of as “cool at school” which prompted his extended search at the time, for a certain type of magazine with which to impress his mates , and, in the end, got a little bit more than he bargained for! His work experience story had the audience grimacing and I will never think of lavender in quite the same way again! David is telling us his life story but in very small segments…one day we’ll get to put all the pieces of the Arnold biography together – I feel there is still a lot more to tell from the Carmarthen comic!
Next up, a young lady by the name of Mabel Slattery, who brings up her speech problem right at the beginning of her act. Mabel has a slight stammer and as far as I’m concerned had the biggest testicles on stage tonight in getting up there, making no apology, just letting us know that if we found her stammer annoying, for us to just think how tough it must be having to listen to it 24/7 like she does.
Her material is based around herself and her family. From her speech therapy, being dumped on uni graduation day, to her search for the sort of guy she likes (history geeks who are never found in nightclubs much to her girlfriends’ puzzlement). Mabel is upfront, funny and self effacing, I liked her and would like to see her again, in a longer set.
After a break, young Nick Pearson, hailing from Yeovil, had a description and opinion on a certain body part belonging to Jordan which elicited much agreement from the audience. I won’t go into it any further, unlike Jordan’s various partners! Some slightly unPC material about people with Downs Syndrome made me a bit uneasy, but I guess Nick was just telling us how it is from his point of view and he didn’t get any comeback from the crowd on the subject.
After Nick, we had the tall thin shape of Daniel Triscott. No real story telling here; Dan specialises in devastating deadpan one liners, some more funny than others. Not all to our particular taste, but the audience seemed to enjoy it and I guess it’s down the material used on the night.
Another break and then six foot nine inches of comedian known as Ben Laverick appeared. Ben’s weariness of the people who continually comment on his height was portrayed in his material, along with “First World Problems”, the second time we’ve heard this phrase used in a week. I think if the thing that gets up your nose most is when people put wet spoons back into the sugar bowl…most of us need to get our priorities sorted out!
Ems Coombes was our next act. Ems had to perform her gig sitting down as she had a “chipped ankle bone” and was walking with a stick. Family were in the audience (her sister later confessed to me that this was the first time she had been “allowed” to see Ems perform her act).
Ems does a good Eastern European accent in portraying her dentist Magda’s tender ministrations. Other stories of Ems’ health and general viewpoint of life followed. Ems doesn’t do jokes, and leads us along in a rambling conversational/observational style. Gently self mocking but nothing too controversial here.
One last break before the headliner, Graham Wilkes, looking shorn from our last viewing. He’d told us earlier that under instruction he’d grown it long for a tv pilot audition and they had promptly shaved the whole lot off!
From Truro in Cornwall, Graham told us about desperate watersports in tents (there is never a handy portaloo is there Graham?), and various slightly twisted semi-biographical events. We have seen Graham before so we were familiar with some of the material. Graham has a slightly cynical outlook on life, makes his points and lets us get on with it.
The good thing about open mic nights is that the acts are numerous but they are quickly on and off…and if you don’t like one particular act, there’ll be another one along within ten minutes who you might! As for us, with free entry, cheap beer (a far cry from the bar prices at the Pavilions earlier this week!) and seven acts…we’re not really complaining!
Richard James- Jedi Harms Car, David Arnold – Lord And Diva, Mabel Slattery – Stately Ramble, Nick Pearson – Reckons Pain, Daniel Triscott – Silent Dictator, Ben Laverick – Evil Bracken, Ems Coombes – Become Moss, Graham Wilkes – Ask Grim Whale