‘Make ‘em laugh, make ‘em laugh!’ shrilled Donald O’Connor in the original Singin’ in the Rain movie, taking just three short words to get right to the heart of what comedy is all about. Sadly, in this 90 minute late-nighter at the Pleasance Courtyard, laughter was in too short supply.
It wouldn’t have mattered so much if the line up changed every night for this show. But no, the same four comedians will be taking to the stage right through to the end of the month, by which time I can only hope at least two of them have seriously considered coming up with more content.
Compere Carl Hutchinson launches straight into a cry more regularly associated with the Queen; ‘and what do you do?’ which yields few comedy results even though his audience targets, being students and teachers, should provide him with ample material. Instead, following a rather tense slagging match with a maths teacher from Fife, he paves the way for Scot Matt Winning to take to the stage.
Sadly, a few small laughs for his supposed role as secretary to Robert Mugabe aside (someone’s been watching The Last King of Scotland too often), Winning lost his audience with one too many long, bewildering pauses. His best joke: ‘LeAnn Rimes. No it doesn’t!’ raises a half smile.
Luckily, there is some redemption in the final two acts - Lucy Beaumont, an oddball from Hull whose ‘alternative poetry’ and observations as to the annoying traits of Facebook injects some actual humour back into the proceedings. Tommy Rowson is likeable enough with stronger material on topics such as The Bible vs The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and his first romantic attachment (‘She gave off a tremendous sense of...Malibu’). But all told, the experience wasn’t especially pleasant for the Pleasance. There are far better late-night comedy shows than this.