17th April 2015 – Exeter Comedy Grove

Simon Feilder (MC), Joseph Wilson (Opener), Jake Baker & Mel Moon (Middles), James Redmond (Headliner)

Our first visit to this night which has been going for several months, and my first visit to the venue for several years; it used to be a regular port of call for metal concerts.

We followed our satnav to the postcode and eventually found the venue itself, but there was no parking, eventually we found some on the street a couple of hundred yards away. We mentioned this to the organisers and suggested they put some guidance on their webpage.

This aside this was a pretty flawless night, the venue itself is great, one of the main entertainment spots on Exeter University Campus. A good, cheap bar and a great setup for a comedy night. With great lighting and sound.

Pretty much right on the advertised start time our MC for the night Simon Feilder popped on stage and started talking to the crowd, very relaxed and got everyone laughing, especially with some crowd interactions about pasties. And onto our opener Joseph Wilson, who we last saw quite some time ago at Plymouth Ski Lodge.

(The other thing that Joe and the other comedians had to deal with was a very young punter (a 13 year old boy) in the front row. The material that many comedians on the circuit come out with ranges from the odd swear word to some very explicit topics that I think should make adult comedy nights forbidden to anyone under the age of 16 at least. We’ve seen it before, parents being allowed to bring in youngsters and I for one am not a fan of comedy clubs who do this. It can make the comics uncomfortable and the rest of the audience maybe don’t get all the material delivered to them as it should be. Just my opinion. Carole)

The voices and impressions are there and they still have the crowd in hysterics and baying for more. One of our favourite acts on the circuit and good to see him again.

Into our first break, the first of two very long ones as it turned out, before a middle section kicked off with some nice material from Simon.

Our first middle act was Jake Baker, we had first seen him at Plymouth Ski Lodge over two years ago doing one of his first gigs. That was a horrid night spoilt by a bunch of schoolteachers who talked through everything, and Jake struggled along with everyone else that night to make any impact.

Tonight on a bigger stage he came over very well indeed, a relaxed style (reminded me a bit of Alan Davies) and a couple of well crafted jokes made him the most interesting act of the night for me. It will be interesting to see how he develops his style further.

Our other act in the middle was Mel Moon, a very upfront musical comedienne with near the edge numbers covering a range of topics, mostly sexual. An interesting character, see John Fleming’s blog for more about her… https://thejohnfleming.wordpress.com/2015/02/20/sick-girl-mel-moon-dicing-with-dr-death-for-edinburgh-fringe-comedy/
Her dark humour and upbeat delivery in the face of serious health problems is great. Was I right to compare her material to Kunt and the Gang in my head? Not sure.

The second break, a shorter spot from Simon as things were running very late by then, and onto our headliner James Redmond. Carole had not seen him before and really enjoyed him apart from the horrible intro to his set where he comes over as really smug in supposedly deriding his z-list celebrity status while actually revelling smugly in it.

It is a shame that he does not seem confident enough yet to actually stand behind his stand up.
Carole enjoyed his tales of his thick mate Barry. I had heard it before both from James himself and many similar acts and so it was nothing original to me.

A nice guy but one who, to me, is getting headline spots above his actual level of material, based purely on his past tv exploits rather than any brilliant stand-up talent.

Still, it was a good, but not spectacular, night of comedy overall with a very well run venue.

A finish of 11:20pm is too late, however, and the couple next to us left during the second interval because the breaks were really making it drag.

The organisers are claiming this is the best night of comedy in Exeter. Is it? Possibly. We haven’t been to Komedia at the Barnfield yet, so will have to hold judgement. But we found this much better than the long running monthly night at the Corn Exchange which in our opinion has always had good acts, but will allow you no choice of where you sit, so if you are in a couple you get relegated to the very far reaches of the room while all the big groups are crammed up front.

David.

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