It’s ten o’clock on a Friday night in Brighton and Temple Bar is buzzing. Some of us have come here specificaly to catch Lolbot Wars: a comedy show based loosely around the structure of Robot Wars. Others were ushered upstairs at the last minute to pack out the room.
Don’t stay at home like boring bores, get out to the Fringe and see Lolbot Wars.
In a lively, even rowdy atmosphere, we were entertained by compère and creator Elliot Wengler, plus four comics: Eliott Simpson, Simone Belshaw, Jamie Allerton and Mike Lash. There were some real highs over 45 minutes or so of free comedy – but unfortunately a few notable lows, too.
The basic premise of the show is that four comedians battle it out in a series of head-to-head contests. There’s the battle round, where they tear into each other with inflatable weapons; the insults round, which speaks for itself; and the improv round, where they riff from words and pictures scribbled on cards by the audience. We didn’t actually get to see that bit.
Wengler explains all this to us at the start of the show, reminding us about such joys as Hypno-Disc (Hypno-Disc!) and Craig Charles’s poetry, “The Pussycat’s withdrawn her claws, so it’s time to say goodnight from Robot Wars”.
The line up of Lolbot Wars changes every night during its four day run, and there’s quite a bit of improv meaning each show will be different. It felt to me like tonight’s acts needed a little bit more time to bed into the set up. Maybe Wengler could have done a bit more to put them at ease, or pick the battles a bit more carefully. We all stumbled into an awkward moment during the insults round which could have been avoided.
Luckily for all of us, Jamie Allerton was there to help us out. Allerton quite frankly stole the show (even if he didn’t technically win it). Where the other stand up sets held the stage, he owned it. A flurry of energy with a clever routine, he stormed into the room and changed the atmosphere. And when things slowed down during the insult battle with Mike Lash, he stepped up and turned the scene around admirably.
Structurally Lolbot Wars needs a little more work: the battles lacked oomph (like Robot Wars itself, I suppose) and weren’t really long or interesting enough. And just when I had settled into a groove and was really enjoying myself the show just sort of stopped, ending on more of a whimper than a bang.
Lolbot Wars was a decent hour of comedy, with some nice ideas and likable performers (again like Robot Wars, then). Craig Charles would probably be proud. Don’t stay at home like boring bores, get out to the Fringe and see Lolbot wars.