Overwhelming as the Festival is, it's a good to try a pick-and-mix of shows. A little stand-up, a little bit of sketch comedy, maybe a little bit of magic. Just the Tonic's daily taste of Afternoon Delight showcases some of the venue's best acts, and from the awkward British Lucy Frederick meeting her boyfriend's mother to the cynical American Russel Hicks trying to make sense of a Glesgae accent, you're sure to find a second show to slope off to afterwards to escape the rain. The pick-and-mix setup does mean that you may well find something not at all to your taste, but ten minutes of eating licorice is made up for by the hilarious fruit salads that the other acts have brought along.
For Just the Tonic's smaller acts, though, this may be the biggest crowd they perform to for the whole month and they’re more than happy to be here.
Today, Mark Simmons' awe-inspiring puns had us giggling and groaning from the off, his act lending itself well to the short time limit and garnering more laughs from the audience than any of his fellow comics. With a curiously flat delivery, Simmons throws out one-liners that take a second to grind their way towards understanding, before laughs start exploding from different corners of the room, one at a time. More observational comedic styles came from our MC, Mike Wilkinson, whose grisly past as a teacher shone through as he honed in on lunchtime drinkers and those of us not in school uniform. Some excellent sketches from Rat's full show offered narrative-based tomfoolery alongside the more traditional stand-up acts, and their riffs on online dating and awful parenting hit just the right spot for this lunchtime crowd.
For a few acts, getting up before noon to perform in a cave does not seem to be their idea of a good time and a reduced version of their show doesn’t work as well as it should. For Just the Tonic's smaller acts, though, this may be the biggest crowd they perform to for the whole month and they’re more than happy to be here. For lovers of new talent, looking for the next Big One, Afternoon Delight should be a sure-fire hit.