There isn’t much of a gala atmosphere at the Apex to start; the auditorium is a tad oversized for the number of people in the audience – but things get going soon enough.
John Moloney proves an excellent compere; his well-honed and devastatingly funny routines delivered with expert timing – and judged just right: enough to provide laughs between acts, but not so much it overshadows them.
And none of your “hey let’s make some noise” overdone audience cheerleading that duff MCs do. Very pleasing.
First up Alan Francis, who seems to be everywhere at this year’s Fest; another experienced professional whose riffs on life, the intransigence of computers, how to annoy cold callers, and much else has the audience hooting.
This is followed later by his joining with Barney Power for one of their scabrous and hilarious ‘Deep Dark Cuts’ sketches.
We don’t get a lot of Emily Rose Simons, who comes onstage with little preamble and gives us two songs with keyboard accompaniment; one about the existential crisis of living in London; the other about her vagina (!).
Witty, tuneful, a little hesitant. Then she leaves, again with not much in the way of patter. Maybe she’s nervous.
Pete Latham, last year’s New Act Competiton winner proves why he was a worthy winner. Clever, imaginative, and creatively performed stuff; using some of the material he won with, and some more.
Headlining is Scotland’s national treasure Fred MacAulay doing his usual apparently casual, but in reality carefully put together, anecdotal stuff about aspects of life such as marital skirmishes, being Scottish, and much more.
All done in his trademark conversational but wickedly funny style. Would we could have listened to him for longer.
An evening of varied delights that seems to be over too soon; though my watch says it’s a full two and a half hours!
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Reviewer: John Christopher Wood | Star rating: ***
The Bath Comedy Festival Closing Weekend Gala Show took place at the Apex Hotel, Bath on Saturday 13th April 2019.