This show is billed as ‘an original and refreshingly intelligent two man stand-up showcase.’ There are two men and they do stand up. As for the other statements, Trading Standards might have something to say about that.
Aggressively officious Pete Dobbing corrals the crowd into their seats at the start, forcing them to fill up from the front. When I sit on one of the comfier seats at the rear, due to a lower back problem which I explain to a miffed Dobbing, he tells me if I’m not willing to sit in a hard-backed chair I must go to the back of the queue of people coming in. I reluctantly humour him and find I sit almost exactly where I had been to start with.
This pointless exercise begins what turns out to be another pointless exercise for the next hour.
First up is Welshman Omar Hamdi whose delivery sometimes veers towards that of Michael McIntyre. But unlike McIntyre, less than two minutes in Hamdi had already dropped a string of expletives – which he continued to do.
His topics covered a well-worn and obvious route, but he has quite a lot of energy which a fair amount of the audience seems to enjoy and laugh along with. A bit of audience banter at the start though has a menacing air when he picks on a young-looking teen. A sick royal family quip towards the end of his set quite rightly doesn’t go down at all well with anyone.
They say there’s never a truer word spoken in jest and in the course of his subsequent turn, Dobbing reveals how he enjoys wearing a Bluetooth headset and Lycra shorts while riding his small fold-up bike and that ‘I have trouble focusing at a deeper level.’ Like the audience then, who mainly look bored or actually leave.
The highlight is provided by a drunken bloke who wanders in because he’s looking for his mates Tony and Briony. With perfect comic timing, the bloke says: ‘Oh, it’s the wrong show.’ Cue fits of laughter.
I tried to objectively rate the show despite the ridiculous and unnecessary rudeness Dobbing proffered at the start but my mind often wandered during the hour and I rarely even tittered, let alone guffawed. To make sure it wasn’t just me who thought it had been a poor show, I listened to people’s reactions on the way out. I heard one chap in his early 20s say to his group: ‘That was horrendous.’ It was a sentiment echoed by most of the audience. It wasn’t original, nor refreshing and not particularly intelligent.