It is easy to imagine all four comics tonight becoming bigger stars, if given the space to develop a little more depth
Amiable compere Freddie Quinne ambles through and warms up the crowd, with quick but unthreatening audience participation. Tattooed and hoodied, he hits it off with the audience, despite, or because of, his acknowledged ignorance of Scottish market towns. He asks the crowd not to heckle the comics so as to provide a safe space for fresh faces, and overall this request is complied with throughout the night and the audience are supportive.
Manchester-based Pete Otway's observational humour is delivered in a bright, smiley manner that is engaging and likeable. He has a good joke about the travails of sexting in a pre-digital era and exhibits good comic timing in a story about his problems with weight loss and comparably-sized animals. His banter is engaging but not particularly thought-provoking.
Danish Sofie Hagen offers observational comedy with sardonic delivery. She talks about her outsider status, the learning of new words and mocking English accents with confidence and style. She spends a lot of time talking about her appearance, which she manages to make engaging and funny, but it would be nice to see what else she has to say beyond this.
Australian Don Tran is a continual assembly line of jokes, each arriving with deadpan delivery. There's a winking sense of dry automation about the performance, as he barely registers the audience's existence. Yet despite being ignored the audience find him hilarious. His jokes, whimsical, morbid, crude and surreal, display an artisanal craftsmanship which distinguish them from merely mechanical mass-productions.
It is easy to imagine all four comics tonight becoming bigger stars, if given the space to develop a little more depth. As a night however, the two hours of comedy promised are reduced to less than an hour and a half due to two longish breaks (with the same three songs on repeat). This has an effect on the “big value” of the evening.