I am not entirely sure why comedians Ben Shannon and Mike Reed decided their set should be forty-eight minutes long, rather than a full hour, but it actually doesn’t really matter as they deliver plenty of laughs in the twenty-four minutes they each have onstage.
Worth the price of a ticket for an hour – sorry – forty-eight minutes. Oh wait, that’s right, it’s free! That’s forty-eight minutes well spent.
Ben Shannon is the first to perform; although initially distracted by how a member of the audience was sitting, and continuing to use him as a reference or jumping off point throughout his time on stage, Shannon delivers a very relatable, if not tightly woven, set. He quickly gains a rapport with the audience, using their responses to his questions as a means of structuring his material, from talking about the Fringe to relationships to his embarrassing dad. Shannon’s anecdotes are, for the most part, relatable – I won’t go into detail about the animal anatomy he’s inadvertently Googled – and, although he often comments on his own jokes, with such lines as “That didn’t sound the way I thought it would this morning”, this only adds to his charm. This being said, Shannon’s tendency to begin his series of jokes and anecdotes by speaking to the audience could be seen as his relying on them to provide material for him, rather than using material of his own but, whether this is the case or not, his set proved consistently amusing, and so this was not really a big issue. Having encouraged the audience, split into teams, to clap and cheer for the next act, Shannon left the stage to make way for Mike Reed.
Although Reed’s style was much more dry than Shannon’s it proved no less entertaining, with Reed discussing life in Wales – in the town where he lives, apparently Friday counts as an upcoming event – the similarities between himself and a Henry Hoover, his difficult upbringing, train journeys and rubbish presents from relatives. As Shannon had done, Reed used the audience as his jumping off point but not to as great a degree; he also had a larger collection of one-liners as opposed to anecdotes, which provided a good contrast in tone and style to Shannon. Both Shannon and Reed provided solid, entertaining performances, worth the price of a ticket for an hour – sorry – forty-eight minutes. Oh wait, that’s right, it’s free! That’s forty-eight minutes well spent.