4th July, Plymouth Ski Lodge

Sarah Iles, Ben Briggs, Ben Laverick, Will Scambler, Paul F Taylor.

Ski Lodge Takes Surrealism to New Heights.

After swapping tables because we’d been placed at the front again, we settled for somewhere a little safer and didn’t have too long to wait before the evening kicked off. I haven’t got masses to say about our MC for the night, Sarah Iles, who was a pleasant, competent and confident enough MC – if a bit understated in comedic material. I felt that she didn’t so much break the comedic ice as put a few well spaced cracks in it.

An odd couple to our left were to cause more intrigue than anything – possibly even odder than YM and H from the previous Ski Lodge gig. They started off the night with signs around their necks saying that they didn’t like each other, and no matter how much they were questioned on this, weren’t giving much away. If it was done to get attention, it was working.

So to our first act, Ben Briggs. Slight of build, Ben gave us his observations on life, including Egyptian evacuations (tummy tribulations) and how to deal with trouble on the train (with help from unexpected quarters). I liked his delivery and he made a worthy opener for the evening.

The obligatory first break came and went and soon it was middle section time. This is the section that can bring the room energy down, making it hard work for the MC to gee everyone up again ready for the headliner.

Another Ben, this time in the (very tall) shape of Ben Laverick, was the first act in this part of the evening. He hasn’t done masses of gigs and so is lacking in experience. Ben went on for a bit too long about people’s reactions to his height; some of it was mildly amusing – I liked better his piece on Glastonbury’s posh Hunter wellies. There’s a bit around the similarity of the British Army to sex. It needs more development but could turn out to be worth the work.

The second comic in the middle section we had seen before…Will Scambler. More observational material around his recent change of jobs and a nice wee vignette around Liam Neeson (which is older material, but Will is coming back to the comedy world after a bit of a break) made his few minutes go quite quickly.

One more break, then into our final section for the night and our headliner: the growing and developing talent that is Paul F Taylor. We’ve seen Paul, either on his own or as one half Short And Curly, several times and he has always been a delight. This time Paul has switched up a gear and taken the surreal part of his act to new heights – appropriate for the lofty perch of the Ski Lodge. Multiple conversations between different types of machines, will Paul voicing all of the roles, lots of feline tomfoolery, tangents being gone off on all over the place, Paul had the punters in stitches. Don’t let Mr Tayor try to tell you that he’s not able enough to do clever writing and callbacks, as he does immediately before a callback, he’s more than capable and proves it beyond doubt …and for the few who weren’t totally sure about the zaniness, my message is don’t try to overthink it, just enjoy it! Come back soon Paul!


Paul, Will, Sarah, Ben



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