Alfie Brown and Ivo Graham

Ivo Graham is the first to do his stint in this hour of stand up comedy. Alfie Brown stood at the back for the first half in a noticeably relaxed atmosphere. Brown must see the show every day, so to hear his genuine laughter says a lot to compliment the comedy skills of Graham. In a world where the stand up comic is steadily becoming king, people expect a lot of the comics. A requirement, which many of the hopefuls fail to produce, is the ability to be witty and quick to think on the spot. When each performance produces different challenges, no stand up comedian can rely on prepared material alone. Graham pulls this off immaculately with an interactive and approachable style and a naturally quick comic ability. In the first ten minutes he got the audience on-side, starting by removing any empty chairs to bring the crowd closer together and then kindly distributing ice to save us from a hot venue. After we’d become accustomed into his energy he launched into his material, which amounted to what he did at school and learner drivers. His stage image is very clear and approachable, especially after his revelations of going to a private boarding school. He holds himself as well educated, if although a wonderfully socially awkward character. Not only is his act entertaining in its material, wit and being inclusive, but he manages to bring comedy out of his mannerisms.Alfie Brown came onto the stage a little later than expected as Graham was riffing on the high energy and happiness he’d created. The second part of the show was set at a much slower pace, and the audience had some difficulty adjusting to the change. With Brown there was less focus on producing reactionary comedy or even pre-prepared material, instead the audience was presented with the inner monologue of an embittered cynic. His polemic is quick to accuse and attribute blame to a society he clearly doesn’t like very much. Any attempts that I made to search Brown’s material deeply, in order to enjoy a more subtle comedy, were hindered by the resentful view of life that was more depressing than entertaining. Parts of his act were quite enjoyable, such as the joking about a reviewer with his shirt on inside out and the blatant mix up of his values where he judged the panel of Simon Cowell’s programmes for being judgemental, and then going on to judge all of society. He liked his big contrasts such as talking in depth about the chain of miracles that created not only life but civilised society, and then proceeding to whap out his bollocks for a bit of shock humour.Though there is clearly a strong personal connection between the comics they have intensely different styles that did not combine too well in the same show. The audience found it difficult to cope with the switch in pace and style, and Brown’s material was simply weaker. It turns out that happy and daft is more entertaining than bitter and resentful.

Reviews by Theo Barnes

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★★★★★

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The Blurb

Alfie Brown ('highlight of the show', [ThreeWeeks]; 'comic glint that sets him apart from his peers', [Chortle.co.uk]). Ivo Graham (Winner, SYTYF 2009; nominee, Chortle 'best newcomer' 2010; 'One of the best young comedians around', [Time Out]).

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