It could have been awkward…
Our third visit to this gig, which we booked at the last minute as we had seen a number of act changes published on the Mirth site which meant we would be seeing three new acts including the headliner Steve Hall. We turned up to find one of the middles had pulled out at short notice, which was true to form! Not being regulars, we had not booked the food option, as the cheese and biscuits the previous month did not appeal. So we had a Burns’ night visit to Wetherspoons and I partook of a particularly fine double haggis burger. It turned out the venue had cottage pie on, but with Carole being veggie, we did not know what the option for her would have been.
We found we were given seats right at the front sharing a table with a very old couple who to be frank did not look they had cracked a smile in years. It turned out they were regulars at the café, but not at the comedy, so maybe not ideal front row fodder. Especially as Jan was not happy with the food.
The gig started and to the stage came our MC, the very familiar to us, Cerys Nelmes. She did her job as you would expect, having a chat to the punters. She elicited from Jan that the food was not very good, and from a table behind us a couple married for 29 years (but might be divorced soon from their comments). Best of all was the table with a complete spread of the generations who had attended every comedy night here. And it turned out it was the anniversary of the first night here.
Onto our first act, the other person on this bill very familiar to us in the form of Tom Glover.
Tom is a really good up and comer, certainly near the top of the pecking order of new acts in the South West. He is growing with confidence every time we see him and tonight was no exception. Most of his material was not new to us, but a new bit on flooding was well received. His other material took us through some lovely observations ranging from Waitrose, Sun holidays and allotment wars. Being the only Cornish people in the room, we are well used to the Cornish stereotypes coming out. A very confident and well received set. Though not too many laughs from our table companions.
During the break Jan and hubby were moved to the back of the room. So we were left as the bastions of the front row.
The middle section opened with Cerys doing (in our opinion) her strongest material which relates to her teenage son. The slight atmosphere that was still there, soon dissipating and so onto our middle act Bisha K. Ali.
A short set encompassing her Muslim roots and but being sent to Catholic school, why gays cannot be racists and assorted other stories. It was all good and well received, but Bisha was very softly spoken and we did have to work hard to hear her at times. Definitely one for the future.
Another break and the final section opening with Cerys reading her favourite bit of ’50 Shades of Grey’ which is hilarious in her Westcountry accent. Then onto our headliner Steve Hall. A man who has supported Russell Howard on many tours. You can see him in Russell Howard’s Good News here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rI45GwNl71I
A real mixture of material, and some lovely ideas. Running the Brighton marathon was a winner, with a nice call back later. His childhood experience of meeting the Muppets was fantastic. His wife shouting out a certain TV advert slogan was another highlight. And his tale of getting older and using Veet on his own arse drew as many ‘ooohs’ as laughs. Just as he was approaching the climax of his set with a tale of a family leaving their child in a Budgeons supermarket. A badly mistimed heckle totally ruined all the build up followed by another asking what a Budgeons was. At this point the gig was skilfully turned by Steve into a Q&A session. It was a shame and the second month running a badly timed heckle could have totally derailed a gig.
A bit of a damp squib of an end to a really nice gig. Long may it continue, and we will look forward to the next time we can pop along.
We were pretty much the last people to leave the gig and got to speak to quite a few of the other punters as they left. And it seemed nearly everyone had a lovely time.
We do attend a lot of comedy and are into our second year of blogging our experiences. We don’t really see ourselves as reviewers, just overly enthusiastic punters. I did find tonight that I was very self-conscious about making notes, being so close to the front. It was a bit off putting for both me and the acts, who were quite often distracted by seeing me grab my pen and notepad. We have found that we like to sit a couple of rows back out of the way, but seem to keep getting put at the front with no choice. This is however, much better than at a big venue like the Exeter Corn Exchange where their big club nights see all the drunken stags, work dos and other large groups at the front, whereas all the couples are put right at the back, often too far away to see.
The Lytehouse is a lovely intimate venue, just our favourite size.
Left to right (anagrams in brackets): Steve Hall (A Vets Hell), Cerys Nelmes (Serene Sly MC), Tom Glover (Grovel Tom!), Bisha K. Ali (Ask Hi Bail)