Owen Hughes and Mabel Slattery have very different styles. Where one is observational, chatty and relaxed, the other is psychotic, extremely loud and completely absurd. These two comedians are not only performing a show together but are apparently exes and though neither of them ever actually refers to this in the show, perhaps their subtle hints about ex boyfriends and complete utter insanity are nods to this fact.
As the first of the two came on, the audience were receptive and hopeful; unfortunately, this was not the attitude they left with.
Mabel Slattery’s set is about a year of waiting: waiting for a job; waiting for an opportunity; waiting for love. Waiting, Slattery muses, is a big part of her life because she has a stammer. Quite rightly this doesn’t stop her performing comedy and why should it? She works the subject into her set with humour and sarcasm that puts the audience at ease. Her observational style wanders into territories such as Minecraft and medieval history, which are somewhat niche subjects and become a little annoying. Her comments about her family are mildly amusing but not laugh-out-loud funny. She demonstrates some potential with her sarcastic yet hopeful take on life but her act lacked the kind of confidence that comedians only get with practice. If she polished up her act by cutting those jokes that fell flat, resisting the urge to rush off on tangents and honing her natural ability, she could really be bringing in the crowds.
Owen Hughes, however, has developed a persona that is irritating, unbelievably loud and incomprehensible. As he screamed into the microphone, causing the audience to clutch their ears and wince, he recounted his constructed character’s obsession with voices, therapy sessions in Broadmoor and conversations with his dead father.
Hughes is simply another comic making wildly ridiculous claims about mental illness in order to gain cheap laughs. In this instance, however, he barely achieved that because we were in so much agony from having been shrieked at. This set was painful, not painfully funny, but simply painful to watch and to hear.