Camden Comedy Free Lunchtime Showcase

An hour of lunchtime comedy could be worse spent than with this quirky collection of occasionally promising comedians. Unfortunately, the showcase is too unsure of itself and rough around the edges to stand out among the mountains of other comedy at the Fringe.

With a bit more polishing and confidence, each act could fulfil their comic potential. As it is, the showcase feels more like a work in progress.

Compere Alastair Sadler anchors the show. He is the bread of your BLT, holding all the ingredients together, just about. His rapport with the audience is natural, and of the performers he is one of the most self-assured. His background as a dance instructor make for some funny observations on the quality of British men’s dancing. Sadler is quick in responding to audience banter but the professionalism of his compering would be improved if he could remember all the act’s names.

The first act, Callie Beaton, riffs on the trials and tribulations of parenthood. Her material is interesting: apparently she was the only girl in an all-boys school, and she didn’t even get the female lead in the school play (‘all true’). However, set-ups are discarded before any really funny jokes can emerge, leaving Beaton’s set feeling under-developed. A lack of attention to detail is also evident when she asks the room whether there are any parents in - twice. Beaton occasionally reveals a glint of brilliance- she ends her slot with an impressive accumulation of stats about women’s place in the world, gaining in hilarity as the list absurdly continues.

Next up is Nicola Redman, who is quickly joined by her larger-than-life friend Amy who strides onto the stage from the audience, shouting ‘Go Nicola!’ This deliberately-gone-wrong concept is quirky but has little pay-off. As the set continues, without very many gags, the hapless duo is mainly baffling rather than funny. A few good jokes include a description of their unlikely friend ‘Sagittarius Jim’ and Amy’s squeaky boob.

Following the shambolic pair is Tom Mayhew. Mayhew is evidently nervous and navigates his ten minutes falteringly. His material has a few self-aware twists but is unfortunately not strong enough to sufficiently compensate for his lacklustre delivery. Last up is the strongest of the line-up, Richard Stainbank. His set includes some sharp observations about backpackers who think they’re interesting just because they’re well-travelled. His presence on stage is confident and he has natural comic timing.

With a bit more polishing and confidence, each act could fulfil their comic potential. As it is, the showcase feels more like a work in progress.

Reviews by Kate Wilkinson

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★★
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★★★★
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★★★★★
Black Medicine

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★★
Hispaniola

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★★
Pleasance Dome

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★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Free lunchtime showcase where Camden cool meets Edinburgh chic. An awesomely nice taster buffet of show previews and up and coming stand-ups, delivered direct to your brain by Streetbeat's Camden Comedy MC Alastair Sadler. It's nice not nasty, pro not profane. More at www.streetbeat.co.uk/comedy.