Spooky Goings On at the Kings Arms.
Once more we negotiate the steep, scary dark and narrow Milford Lane down into Tamerton Foliot. The lane starts off quite wide and after driving through a typical Plymouth housing estate, suddenly we are in what seems like deep countryside, barely scraping past high stone walled hedges and tall trees either side, totally unlit and with not very many passing places either. A slightly nerve wracking controlled skid down amongst the damp and leaves, hoping that nothing is coming up the hill towards us and we are across the road and into the Kings Arms car park.
The Kings Arms event, from the first night which was a near car crash of its own, has grown into quite a respectable little comedy night. The ticket price covers a curry or chilli dish and for a £5 basically you are getting free comedy of a decent calibre.
As we were getting our pints in at the bar, we were very pleased, if surprised, to spot Danny Ward setting up his equipment in the comedy room at the back. As far as we knew he wasn’t on the bill but we certainly weren’t going to moan about it – Danny is nothing if not complete quality – this we know from other viewings and two Edinburghs. He was a last minute MC replacement but definitely a welcome one.
MCs at the Kings Arms have to bring their own sound rig so Danny was waxing lyrical about the set up he’d got for an unbelievably good price from Amazon. Two speakers, mic, mic stand etc, what a bargain!
We weren’t going to be fed until the first interval which, as I’d been out for a training run earlier in the evening, was bad news as I was starving but hey-ho, for the ticket price I couldn’t complain too much.
Into the show then and Danny, who we’d never seen MC before, seemed to be a complete natural. He’s a local lad and even had his dad along with him in the audience. Plenty of banter from the audience, with bits of material thrown in, and while he’s telling us about the random aisle in Lidl where you can find welding masks amongst the veg, somehow we get onto the subject of telescopic poles, at which point, as Danny literally SAYS the words “telescopic pole” the mic stand collapses into itself and the mic holder slides downwards. Spooky! Of course we all loved it, and then we get onto hauntings and it’s let out that back in the 70s the landlady of the Kings Arms was killed in the car park! Oooooooooh!!
Onto our opener, Garrett Millerick. Garrett is the best ranty comedian in the business. We’ve seen him several times down this way, plus Edinburgh last year, where he played to a woefully small audience – absolutely undeserved. Garrett is money well spent and he had our audience in stitches especially after his shock start having a go at the current generation of oldies (quite a few of whom were in the audience!) We had more of his ire spent on postmen, gas men and estate agents, all well observed. The pub ghost hadn’t finished with us yet though, as halfway through one of Garrett’s delicious diatribes the mic stand once more slid down all by itself. “Heckled by a mic stand” as Garrett put it.
Into our break (food at last!) and then we had our two middle spots, Jack Grant and Wilson, both young and unknown to us. Firstly though, Danny came on and having acknowledged that the mic stand really wasn’t up to the job (in more ways than one) he offered it for sale at £4 which Dave snapped up before anyone else could get a word in. He then spent the rest of the evening offering to rent it out to the other comedians at an escalating rate! We’re going to put the stand in our spare room once it’s been done up in a comedy theme, let’s hope we stay ghost free!
Jack had quite a bit of material on his eternal quest for a decent job. He has clever replies to job application rejection emails and more observations on which roles he would be good at given the qualities he thinks are necessary for each job. He got some appreciation from the audience and was a safe pair of hands in the sometimes awkward middle section.
On then to Wilson, quietly confident and with a mix of word play and observational material. He had a varied range of accents to amuse us including Scots, Jamaican and Irish. Some groanworthy puns at the end finished the set.
Onto our head liner then, Dave Thompson. We’ve seen Dave a few times at various venues. Tonight he had literally hit the ground running, having just landed from continental Europe and driven all the way down from London. Tired as he must have been, he still managed to come out with some fairly decent material, including a call back to something Garrett had said earlier, some dark jokes and finishing with a visual stunt regarding a polar bear!
Laughs wise I think the evening was front loaded with Danny and Garrett but the audience were appreciative all round and applauded everything thrown at them. Carry on Kings Arms – we’re thoroughly enjoying your comedy career!