There are various ways you can sell your comedy show in the Fringe programme. You can list your appearances on BBC Three or quote past reviews. Or, as the DMU Footlights have done, you can point out that the price of a ticket for your show (£3) is less than the cost of a pint.
This is an unpretentious little show. Four student comedians plus a compere each perform a stand-up routine of about ten minutes. There’s a broad linking theme of social awkwardness but each comedian seems pretty free to go off in their own direction. This could be a recipe for flabbiness but beneath a slightly bumbling surface there is a surprisingly tight and funny show.
Much of the credit for that must go to the compere, Matt Holmes. With a nice line in self-deprecating humour he radiated amiability. He was quick on his feet too, bantering with two New Zealanders in the audience. Although he described himself as looking like Hugh Grant after a stroke, his strong audience rapport and light intelligent wit put me in mind of a young Dara O’Briain.
The comedy here isn’t pushing any boundaries. A lot of easy and slightly hackneyed subjects were covered by the comedians: racists on Facebook, the creepiness of the Build-A-Bear Workshops, sexual health at university. In one of the weaker sets a joke about not being gay was uncomfortably long. In the main though the comedians poked fun with a light touch and the audience very much on their side. This is the sort of show to which you could bring a broad-minded grandmother. True, there’s the odd masturbation joke but, as Ben Hustwayte ably demonstrated in a brilliant routine about working as a bin man, this is friendly comedy.
Holmes urged the audience to tell their friends about the show because “tomorrow it might be really good”. He does the show down; it’s really good today. The lineup changes every day but if the future comedians keep to the same standards then this is a show to see, and for less than the cost of a pint.