Just the Tonic clearly understand the demands of their audience: the only way into the Midnight Show venue is through a bar and past the toilets. Unfortunately the profits of the bar are prioritised over enjoyment of the show and heckling proved inevitable, prolonging and ultimately souring the whole experience.
Danny McLoughlin did well as compere and wasn’t to know that the group in the front row would eventually become the bane of the evening when he asked them how they beat their children. Earlier, less persistent hecklers were well put down and McLoughlin endeared himself to everyone else. The first guest act, Patrick Monahan, delivered - rather hoarsely - a routine guaranteed to freak out anyone walking home alone after the show, before moving onto a rather extended guide on picking up women that occasionally bordered on misogyny.
Andrew Ryan followed with a fast paced story on dealing with his bank that had the audience giggling throughout. However, he admitted that he lifted the whole fifteen minute segment from his own Fringe show and had probably given too much away. Still, he seemed the most invested in the gig after McLoughlin.
Bobby Mair was off to a flying start with a twisted, practically psychopathic brand of humour that amazed and amused in equal measure. Tragically, however, this was when the group at the front re-entered the proceedings. Mair found his set entirely derailed by one stubborn, unfriendly heckler and though the rest of the audience joined his requests for her to leave, it was impossible to get back on track after an interruption of at least fifteen minutes. By the end of his time both audience and comic were simmering with anger and disappointment.
The mood of the audience now soured, Paul McCaffrey’s somewhat mundane observational comedy wasn’t strong enough to get the show back on track. The only topic of conversation as the audience traipsed out of the warm, muggy space was the front row drama. The comedians will have to be stronger than their hecklers for this night to improve.