Tues 31st March 2015 – Funny Fort, Fortescue, Plymouth – Richard James, Marcus Gill, Ian Bowden, Graham Wilkes, Mabel Slattery and Eddie French

Fun at the Fort.

This was a new venue for us, neither of us had been to the Fortescue before, but it’s a proper real ale pub (a CAMRA pub) and seemed friendly with good service on the evening we were there.

The venue itself is downstairs in a long, narrow room with another bar at the rear. I wish I’d known that when we got drinks upstairs as I was trying to juggle my bag, my coat and a large mug of Old Rosie while making my way down there!

First off then was the well known to us Richard James, MCing for the night. We hadn’t seen him for quite a while and there was some fresh whimsy for us to enjoy plus quite a bit of adlib and audience banter. Richard’s delivery is becoming a lot more confident too!

Our opener for the night was Marcus Gill, who we’ve seen several times before in Comedy Avenger spots, and at the lovely River Exe Cafe. He comes at his comedy from a geeky perspective and delivers the same. There are quite a few comics out there doing the “poor wee geeky/nerdy me, I can’t get a girlfriend” persona, so the material has got to be even funnier to stand out from the nerd herd. For us tonight, this wasn’t the best we’ve seen him do, but we know it’s in there somewhere!

After Marcus we were into a break, before our middle spots: Ian Bowden, Graham Wilkes and Mabel Slattery.

Ian Bowden, clad in sparkly show shirt, had a series of  puns and wordplay. We’ve met Ian as a fellow audience member to many different gigs but this was the first time we’d been the audience to his performance. The pun and wordplay kind of material isn’t really my thing, but Dave (the Tim Vine fan) is a sucker for it and he thought Ian had some good one liners and was definitely laughing out loud on and off throughout Ian’s short stint.

Next up, for a welcome return to the comedy stage, was Graham Wilkes. Graham’s had a break from performing for a few months and it was lovely to see him back in front of an audience again. There was a mix of old and new material and he had a good reception from the punters. Despite the time away, he didn’t seem to miss a step and it was as smooth as ever it was!

Last up in the middle section was our old friend Mabel Slattery. From down the pointy end of Cornwall, but now studying in York, Mabel gave us a mix of material including something you won’t hear too often on the comedy stage, jokes taken from mediaeval literature.

Into our second break and then, the headliner, a new face for us, Eddie French. He immediately kicked off with the best impression of Jimmy Carr that I’ve yet seen – very well observed indeed.

Then, with a very narrow but still somehow full length version of an electric guitar, Eddie did a lovely dissection of different genres, revoicing well known tunes to his own lyrics and generally being very clever!

The crowd loved it so much he was persuaded to come on for a short encore, where he ditched the guitar and instead gave us an almost too cruel, lisping mimicry of Jamie Oliver and a satirical “one second food challenge”. This drew further guffaws of delight all round. We both thought he was very good and stood out on the night with Richard and Graham close behind.

All in all, an entertaining evening and I expect the Fortescue will be seeing us again at some point in the future.

Carole.

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