Tonight’s show at the Sosh marks a return to actual, live, in person, indoor comedy with an actual sit-down audience, for post lockdown laughs.
Well, not quite post; with social distancing (what’s social about it?), hand gel, temperature checking, and of necessity much-reduced audience capacity, we know we’re still in Covid land. But it’s a great atmosphere, and elegant too, with well-spaced cabaret-style tables and waiter service. Lovely!
First act up is Nick Page, with a cod-acerbic style that makes Jack Dee look like a man with an overly sunny disposition. He takes apart a range of pet hates that anyone might recognise, from people who put eyelashes on their car headlights, to how annoying such things as children, cats, and estate agents are. He should know; he’s been one. The delivery, apparently off-the-cuff, is actually brilliantly-timed, the audience banter equally. None of it attempts to humiliate, just to be funny. His razor-sharp take on his avowed apathy to serious political issues is actually astute and delightfully biting, and the laughs come thick and fast. Clever stuff.
Louise Leigh is a sparky forty-eight-year-old badly-behaved mother of two with plenty to say about the annoyances of motherhood, wifehood (is that a word?) and other of the dangers of domesticity and how it might interfere with sex. It culminates in an extended, and excruciatingly hilarious, graphic take on the difficulties of depilation. You had to be there.
Roger Monkhouse closes the evening with a wonderful display of random stuff, from relentlessly teasing the audience for being middle-class liberal Bath types (He lives in Larkhall, so it’s not very insulting) to political punches – and Covid jokes. Not a subject, on the face of it, very joke-worthy; but it is tonight. He’s very fast on his feet with audience banter generally, an art which many comics mistakenly think they’re good at. Monkhouse, though, is the real deal and never lets a moment pass without a laugh. A great end to a great evening.
After so many months without it, it’s a grateful reminder of what a joy to the spirit it is to be in a room with people whose sole aim is to make you laugh. It was clearly, as they themselves said, an equally joyful return for the performers. Fingers crossed it can continue.
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Reviewer: John Christopher Wood | Star rating: ****
The Bath Comedy Club Night at Widcombe Social Club is being held fortnightly. Find out more here.