8th March – Dartmouth Flavel

Pat Monahan – Cake Charmer

(Dave: Anagram – Patrick Monahan – Pack In Marathon)

First up we have Pat, a perennial favourite,  with his luscious Cake Charmer show which has been seen by us once before  but Pat’s shows never get old because he makes each one different by  his interactions with the audience.

Coming on to his Bollywood soundtrack, he first dived  up and down the aisle hugging adhoc punters then dragged a tow headed  younger version of Gordon Ramsay up on the stage for a bit of Bollywood  dancing, which to give the victim his due, he was well up for it and  definitely did not disgrace himself.

I don’t think we have ever met a comedian who is as  unfailingly good humoured as Pat; he always looks delighted to be on  stage, meets and makes friends before and after the show, and hands  out hugs like Smarties to many of his audience. He just emanates happiness  and Feel Good Factor Fifty and his punters respond in kind. If only  we could bottle what he has – and spread the love.

It was hard for Pat to stick to his one hour slot,  but with Sean Hughes hot on his heels for the next show in the same  space, Pat’s banter was sadly severely curtailed – only running ten  minutes late in the end.

Pat is running the London Marathon for this charity: http://www.zoes-place.org.uk/middlesbrough/ a charity which he has been supporting for a while.  If you are out and about in London give him a wave and some money!

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Sean Hughes – Penguins.

(Dave: Anagram: Sean Hughes – Huge Ass Hen)

Sean’s show started off with a bit of penguin puppetry  to “No Regrets” by Edith Piaf closely followed by Sean himself,  dressed shall we say, as if in full support of the day’s International  Women’s Day event. There were another two costume changes after that,  one more being feminine, before Sean got into a shirt and trousers for  the second act.

Sean’s show started ten minutes late (not really Pat’s  fault as lots of people were trying to exit the venue, enter the venue  and get drinks from the small bar all at the same time) and Sean’s gig  was, all bar one seat near the front, (a fact that wasn’t missed), sold  out with extra rows of seats added at the front.

Several props were on stage, a clothes rack, a large  version of the child’s wooden toy “fit the shape to the hole” and  a small wooden box with a light that came on and a soundtrack screaming  out when the lid was lifted, which was several times during the show.

Sean is not shy of discussing the intricacies of sex  on stage. Blow jobs, masturbation, cunnilingus and full on intercourse  complete with actions, nothing was beyond the pale, although to be fair,  he did warn us at the outset that there would be “a fair bit of sex”  in the second half.

Several people were in for some banter, and given  a bit of grief, not least a largish chap and his wife, front row centre  aisle seats, who did not stop commenting to each other throughout the  show. Sean had a few words to say but it was kept goodnatured and didn’t cause too much harm.

A longish break after about fifty minutes (lots of  people were trying to get to the slightly undermanned bar) and eventually  we got started again. We were told that the show was going  to run late and that anyone who had to leave to catch the ferry should  just get up and go when they had to, or risk missing it and having to  incur a long drive around!

Sean then told us about his childhood growing up in  a Catholic/Protestant sectarian background and his longing for his young  sweetheart who didn’t return his lust and love. His attempt to make her his at a get together goes wrong and he loses out to another friend  who lives in his street.

All of this is very cutely illustrated with children’s  charity shop clothes on hangers,  (using the aforementioned clothes  rail) to represent him, his brother, friends and his longed for lady.

A last word or two about the dangers of getting into  strangers’ cars when your school “friends” are giving you grief  and the show was over.

The first half of the show was brilliant, probably as good as anything we have seen. But the second half got a lot less laughs, with people looking at their watches, people knocking over bottles, and Sean seemingly losing momentum possibly because he was rushing. As it was the ten minute late start turned into nearly an hour late finish and to be honest, the show had gone on a little too long  finishing at 11:40 for an arts centre crowd but that was mostly down to the late start, long break and crowds  of people all trying to get in/out and refreshed as much as the amount  of material that Sean gave us, and we couldn’t say we hadn’t been given  value for money. It would be nice to see this show with a normal start time, as two hours plus an interval starting after 9pm is probably too much for most comedy audiences, especially ones where the average age was probably over 50.

Carole.

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