There’s no real link between the acts in terms of genre or style, so it’s hard to recommend the show with certainty – but the hour that I saw was entertaining and well put together.
The acts varied dramatically in style and tone. Javier Jarquin started the hour with fairly basic observations about his mixed race heritage and being from New Zealand in a set that was competent enough but lacked anything to mark him out from the crowd. Next up, Micky Bartlett with an old standard about living with your parents. To give Bartlett his due, the set was performed with a presence and energy that lifted the material, but the end of the set, an act-out of Bartlett trying to have sex quietly, bordered on the grotesque.
The quality of acts progressively improved throughout the hour. Tom Houghton managed to crush expectations of everyone’s new favourite joke – Tinder – subverting the usual remarks with a flight of fancy that got everyone in the room laughing. Peter Brush provided the crowd with his extremely down beat brand of geeky observation, delightfully self effacing and beautifully constructed jokes that hit home every time. Steve Bugeja finished the hour with relatable tales of family relationships and kissing girls that shone beyond their simplistic origins through creative writing and a charged stage presence. Bugeja is just cutting his teeth, but I have no doubts that we'll be seeing much more of him in the future - a breakaway flash of talent that ended the show on a high.
There’s no real link between the acts in terms of genre or style, so it’s hard to recommend the show with certainty – but the hour that I saw was entertaining and well put together. The main stumbling block that Hilarity Bites Comedy Club faces is that it was never constructed to withstand a Fringe audience. Performing a club style showcase in the middle of the day means that some of the more Friday night audience focused material fell a little flat. Without the right energy in the room, routines about national rivalries and stories about being single failed to get the laughs they might in another context.