Line-up Adi Knight (MC), Fern Brady (Opener), Roger Monkhouse (Closer)
After a run of tour shows we were back at Annabels where we had our first show of 2013 for number 251. We have made no secret of the fact that this night varies wildly and can have weird audiences at times. We don’t like the fact it starts so late and so finishes even later. Tonight, it was to prove well worth the trip.
MC Adi Knight started very slowly and took a while to get into his stride. Once he did, he showed a few touches of nice material. He was prevented getting fully into his stride by microphone malfunctions, a ‘techie’ being called on stage twice to sort it out. Unfortunately, one of these came as he was rousing the crowd to bring on the first act by doing a joke countdown.
Fortunately the opener proved to be rather good indeed, in the shape of Scot Fern Brady, now residing in London. She has just filmed a bit for The Alternative Comedy Experience on Comedy Central, and on tonight’s performance we will hope to be seeing a lot more of her in years to come. A lot of nice material, a very dour delivery, and some nicely timed lines made her worth coming out for alone. She is very down to earth and not shy of producing some slightly blue lines.
A break during which we had the joke competition which turned out to be ‘What is the difference between Reverend Paul Flowers (of Co-operative Bank fame) and a cheese grater?’. This proved to stump virtually the entire audience and had a pathetic entry of four all of which were pretty crap. This finished so quickly Adi filled the gap with some more material, which was much better than his first set.
Finally at close to 10:45pm we got our headliner Roger Monkhouse. Anyone who knows comedy will know Roger, one of the best pros on the entire circuit. A man with exquisite lines and effortless, beautiful timing. He feels out the audience at first and has some really nice banter with a couple of sections of the crowd. Some of his material is the same as when we last saw him, and focuses on his increasing age and recent marriage breakup. But he is always an absolute joy to watch and a lot of younger comics could learn a lot from him. A highlight comes when a punter objects to being labelled as middle class along with the rest of the audience. Later, when Roger addresses him again, said punter decries ‘Steady On’ putting him right into middle class territory, the moment of the night as the crowd’s laughter confirmed, and was then re-confirmed, when on asking what he did, the punter said he was civil servant! A masterclass, from a comic who has been at the top of his game for a very long time. We hope he stays there!
A good night overall, probably the best at the venue we have been to this year. Still the 11:30pm finish meant that we ended up getting home at midnight again, on a worknight. The previous two nights in Exeter had finished at a much more civilised time and we got home much earlier both nights despite a fifty mile drive.
Our other gripe would be over the bookings. We bought tickets with a published line-up of Larry Dean, John Hastings and Roger Monkhouse. As with many Mirth gigs this line-up ended up almost totally different and even the venue only knew the actual comics the day before the gig. It makes it very difficult as a punter to choose whether you attend or not. As it turned out this was a really good night especially for discovering Fern.
Anagrams: Adi Knight – Kid Hating, Fern Brady – Refry Band, Roger Monkhouse – Greek Humor Soon.
Our picture didn’t flatter anyone. Fern has already gone to sleep and for Roger and Adi add your own captions!