Another evening at what is now undeniably the comedy HQ of Bath, with three comics this time.
First up is Chris Norton Walker who promises twenty minutes of one-liners, which he does deliver, though he doesn’t seem to forge much of a rapport with tonight’s audience with them.
The one-liners are sometimes real crackers, but sometimes less so and he struggles to find what he thinks the audience would like – and isn’t very complimentary about asking them.
The banter is faintly hostile; the audience doesn’t much warm to it, and the laughs are few and far between. Maybe his timing is a bit off.
One-liners should just be delivered, not announced first as “this next joke is about…” Kind of interrupts the pace. Maybe he is having an off night, or maybe the audience is. Audiences vary. But they give him a reasonable round of applause at the end.
Charmian Hughes is a real bundle of energy, bouncing around the stage and regaling us with her views on the advantages and disadvantages of middle age, hers in particular; what a pain children can be; the joy or otherwise of a husband years younger than her; weight gain; middle-aged sex – though this isn’t relentless Sarah Millican-style smut. She does however finish up with a hysterical cod-French and pleasingly dirty song. Enormous fun.
Archie Maddocks really does know how to engage with an audience, and hits it off from the get-go. However much he has a go at us for being white, or being posh, or being from Bath it’s expertly and accurately done and raises no hackles*; although many of his observations wickedly dissect attitudes to racism and other isms.
His own family is from various ethnicities and he makes much play on that in a non-stop high energy look at life in lockdown in this England, and its multifarious weird outlooks on things. Great stuff, and had the audience roaring.
*Aside from one woman thinking his referencing the Irish side of his family was ‘stereotyping’. I don’t seriously think anyone else thought so.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Reviewer: John Christopher Wood | Star rating: ***