Peter Strong and Dan Fardell share an hour set at The Newsroom, titled
There is strength in some of the material, but there is still a long way to go before this show creates any fireworks at the festival.
Peter Strong begins with his mixture of standup and poetry. It was nice to see the variety and his poems covered a whole range of topics. The most effective was his poem about visiting a doctor at 3am in a park. Though the poems were a good addition, not all of them fizzled with the same humour. Similarly there were some clever stand up pieces, yet the whole set could have done with some filtering. His pessimistic nature makes Strong a difficult character to warm to and therefore his material needs to be consistently funny as his persona cannot carry the weaker sections. As a result huge sections seemed to fall flat and improvement was needed for the set not to drag.
Dan Fardell was the stronger of the two. His self-deprecation meant I was far more receptive to his material. He is perfectly self-aware, including gags about his weight, his relationship issues and his day-job. He began by delivering a few one-liners, which he could have returned to when the momentum was flagging to provide a fresher approach. However his delivery was usually spot-on and his material was well thought out and broached on topics on which most can identify with.
The two are different in their styles of comedy and so there is a contrast to be seen. Perhaps with a packed audience and a loud reception this would have been more successful, but with such a negative first set it is difficult to create any raucous atmosphere at all. There is strength in some of the material, but there is still a long way to go before this show creates any fireworks at the festival.