Stronger opening material and quicker links between acts would have kept the show flowing better
Though none of the comics presented anything revolutionary I am reluctant to come down on them because I don’t feel I was able to see them at their best. Each had at most a five minute slot, too short a time to do anything significant or special. Joey Page, for instance, has a habit of changing tack mid-story, which came across as unfocused in a tight timeframe but would work well in longer sets. Ashley Storrie presented the same foul-mouthed, “sorry-not-sorry” stage persona that, in the short time allowed, was no different to that which can be found on the bill at any Student Union Open Mic night in the country.
Some had added burdens to bear. Whenever Gareth Mutch said anything "family-unfriendly" a horn would sound which restricted his ability to build any momentum and so, through no fault of his own, his set passed unremarkably. The highlight of the show came when Fern Brady took the stage and for three uninterrupted minutes was allowed to deliver her confident, well-structured material. But this could not continue, as the horn rang again to indicate that the other comics were now free to heckle her. Rather than continue with her set she wisely abandoned it and deflected the incoming barbs expertly - but that segment could have been stronger had she simply been left to her own work. Many of the comics have their own shows so you would expect they usually reach higher standards, leading me to suspect that the problem is the format of Live at the Stand itself.
Between some sets come interview segments or panel games, themselves just a structure for the comics to deliver material in even smaller chunks, which kill any pacing and energy. By his own admission compere Richard Melvin is not a comic but a radio producer: stronger opening material and quicker links between acts would have kept the show flowing better. The performance ends with a song from legendary anti-folk musician Lach, and even his laid-back charm and obvious wit is not enough to overcome the restriction that his song had to be about the previous hour.
Had all the artists been free to work as they wished in a more standard showcase I have little doubt they would have produced something worthwhile. The lineup changes daily, so with a roster of experienced enough comics lightning could strike. But I can only review the show I saw which systemically hampered its own performers.