MC Toby Brown (Nobby Wort), Opener Michael Fabbri (Flabbier Micah), Middle Phil Cooper (Polio Perch), Headliner Yianni Agisilaou (I, Gay Louisianan)
This was a night where I am not quite sure to begin. We had an advertised line up via the Mirth page and were expecting Yianni & Toby along with Stephen Carlin and Malcolm Head. So I was surprised to see young Phil Cooper come in as I was sat waiting for Carole to arrive. We had last seen Phil doing an open spot at Plymouth Ski Lodge at their April show. He stood out among the three open spots that night so we were pleased to see him again. We then found out that Michael Fabbri was replacing Stephen Carlin and the venue had only found out that afternoon when the lineup had been confirmed to them. We had not seen Michael before so this was fine by us, but we have gotten increasingly frustrated that Mirth gigs constantly change the acts and do not update their own pages or tell the venues until the last minute. We previously complained to Mirth themselves and were told that the changes were down to ‘unreliable comics’. We then asked why they did not update their pages with changes and were told it was too much work for a small company. Well, we are fed up with going to Mirth gigs and seeing acts we may have seen very recently again when we have paid to see someone else. Being in Plymouth we understand that comics do not want to travel this far for the money on offer, but the way we are constantly treated by Mirth is unacceptable.
I digress, back to the night. Toby Brown opened the night with some confident crowd interaction. Mishearing a ladies darts team in the audience as a dance team and asking them to play afterwards to much amusement. This group of ladies seemed really nice early on but later in the night did one of the rudest things I have ever seen at a comedy club. Toby got some audience members to fill up the empty front seats. He told tales of his time as a student in Plymouth and sevice station food, very confident delivery again and a really nice chap. Just as we had found when we last met him seventy-three shows before in January at Annabels, our first show of 2013.
So onto Michael Fabbri, new to us, but I knew the name and already had him scheduled in for Edinburgh on the 14th August. And after tonights performance this appears a very good choice. A laid back delivery, which had just a touch of Jack Dee about it at times. But he has his own style and he was a big hit with us and the rest of the crowd. All his stories, an eclectic mix, of how to have fun with the death of someone you didnt like, Dyslexia, spellcheckers, megabuses, chivalry in porn, Dubai and James Bond all featured. We look forward to hearing more in August. For anyone else going to Edinburgh he is on the Free Fringe at the City Cafe for the whole of the Fringe at 8pm.
A break, a bit more from Toby featuring his comedy hero, his Gran. And then our open spot Phil Cooper. Another eclectic mix, featuring Barry the train driver from Porth from whence he hails, hypochodria, breast cancer in men, and searching for midgets on google. A very good set again and a lot better than most of the open spot acts we have seen lately, especially the diabolical offering served up the weekend before. Keep it up Phil!
Another break and then Yianni with his Edinburgh preview of ‘Think Big’. Let us set the scene. The venue did not know Yianni was doing a preview until the day of the gig. Though it was on the always unreliable Mirth site. So none of the audience, except Carole and I, knew what was being served up on this night. The gig itself started twenty-five minutes late because food was being served and there were two sizeable breaks as well. So, Yianni came on at 10:15pm, for an hour long preview, that most people were not expecting, and only fifteen minutes before the gig would normally finish. And several of them had been drinking for several hours at this point, though to be fair there was no drunken heckling as you may have anticipated. Carole and I live about five miles from this venue and sometimes catch the bus in to comedy there. If we had done so, we would have had to leave after fifteen-twentyminutes. This is exactly what started to happen as the time hit 10:30. First two walked out then a few more and this kept going. probably only ten-fifteen people in total, but everytime it seemed to be at a point the story got going and it brought things to a grinding halt again. We were getting irritated, and others were too. The vast majority of the crowd were attentive and respectful and wanted to see where this was going, but we never got a chance. The final straw came when the ladies darts team started talking amongst themselves and then one of them stood up five feet in front of Yianni and started arranging taxis at a level which stopped Yianni being heard. The rest of the crowd shushed including Carole who got told by the offending old slapper not to ‘Shush her’. At this point Yianni gave up and we never got to the end of the show. We know some things didnt work, and some did, but it was difficult with the atmosphere to actually tell. We have every faith that come August this will be a brilliant show like last year. We have bought tickets for 25th August and look forward to getting to see the show as it should be with an audience that shows a bit more respect.
A very weird night all in all, big ups to the comics, and downs to Mirth and to the members of the audience who didnt know how to behave at a comedy night. Do us a favour, next time stay at home and watch ‘Live at the Apollo’ instead.