Always Be Comedy

The Jekyll and Hyde is a lousy venue to play: poor acoustics, bar noise and seating split so the audience is in two sections which can’t see or hear each other. And we were a lousy audience. James Gill, the compere, is of the ‘All-Together-Now’ audience participation school. The less we responded, the more hysterical he became. This of course had the opposite effect from what he intended.

Always Be Comedy is a platform for three ‘up-and-coming’ comics to do ten minute sets. Two of these were going nowhere. Dave Green is a lugubrious stand-up with a terminally slow delivery. His set was a surreal mess. He is intellectually quite clever, but works better on the page than the stage. Punctuated by endless pauses and played to an audience with a lot of Italians and Spaniards, it died.

Ben Morgan is billed as Gill’s partner in this venture, but had his own set on this night. He belongs to the ‘Oooh-aren’t-I-naughty?’ school. He is not nearly as edgy as he likes to think. More tedious guff about the bloody Olympics, too. If I hear the name Chris Hoy again, I swear I’ll scream. At one point, trying to set up a gag when nobody admitted to knowing anything about the subject, he said, ‘This joke isn’t going to work then.’ He still did it, and his prediction was right. That scraping sound was the noise of a comedian digging his own grave.

However, the evening was partially redeemed by the headliner, Canadian John Hastings. Hastings managed some politics, some surrealism. He was fast, polished and had an original slant. We will hear more of him.

Of course, as the line-up changes there will be other material on other nights. Anyone can have an off night. But I sincerely hope the calibre of the warm-up acts wasn’t typical.

Reviews by Peter Scott-Presland

Charing Cross Theatre

Jacques Brel is Alive and Living in Paris

★★★
Jermyn Street Theatre

Return of the Soldier

★★★
Southwark Playhouse

Eye of a Needle

★★★★
Rosemary Branch Theatre

The Trial of the Jew Shylock

★★★
Southwark Playhouse

In The Heights

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

The Blurb

For two weeks only, Always Be Comedy is moving from its successful south London home to the Edinburgh Fringe. Expect to see rising stars of stand-up alongside TV comedians every night, for free.

Most Popular See More

Mary Poppins

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Come From Away

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets