The ever-popular pub The Three Sisters is a fun place to wander into and pass a couple of hours (especially when it's raining), and you could do worse than climbing up to Maggie's Chamber, where
If Twice as Nice keep choosing their acts so well, it’s definitely worth stopping by the Free Sisters for before it ends on the 8th.
Compère Sam Deards is pleasant, if a little rambling, with a tendency to mumble his jokes, but he does a good job of keeping things moving and doesn't impose himself on proceedings, allowing the acts to make the most of their time on stage. Four comedians is a good, comfortable number for an hour-long show, and when I went they had been chosen to fit together surprisingly nicely.
Grainne Maguire, who kicked off the show, is congenitally gifted with the comedian's best asset: an Irish accent, with just that hint of husk which makes her radio appearances (The Now Show, An Idiot's Guide) such enjoyable listening. Hers is the clever, bitter comedy of the university-educated single woman, spurned by her smug, married friends and cheated by the false promises of Saturday night. The audience is easily made complicit in her anger, and it's a shame to see her leave the stage, like an amusing friend deciding that they really must leave the pub.
Tom Toal, who took her place, is like the friend you met when you were fifteen who hasn't changed since; who calls himself 'T squared' and makes jokes about oral sex. His brand of immaturity is actually quite endearing, and the audience certainly enjoy it. He’s one of those dirty-minded young men who would still somehow get themselves invited to your grandma's house, and end up with the largest slice of cake.
Julian Dean's style is rather different from the others on the bill, consisting in real, clear-cut jokes, somewhat in the Milton Jones vein, not quite 'one-liners', but a series of cunning subversions of audience expectation. Some of these are really very good, and all hit their target pretty squarely, although a couple are not very original, and his whole set is strung together a little loosely. Still, he’s a fine young exponent of the noble tradition of joke-telling, and worth catching if he turns up on another bill.
If Dean is the chap at the bar telling blue jokes to strangers, Damian Clark is the Aussie relief barman who's there for the closing-time rush – the one whose relentless energy must surely be substance-induced, although you suspect that it might actually be a product of better weather and a happier lifestyle. He punches onto the stage with sudden, surprising force and a broad, engaging smile which fairly forces you to like him. His material is relatively simple, observational stuff about moving to the UK, tea-drinking habits and time-telling confusions, but done so cheerfully and uncritically that you cannot help but feel happy about the country we live in. The audience was certainly loving it, and the warm feeling we were left with (which must have done good things for the collecting bucket), lasted all the way out into the drizzle. It was a very satisfying hour of comedy, all said, and if Twice as Nice keep choosing their acts so well, it’s definitely worth stopping by the Free Sisters for before it ends on the 8th. You can even get Haggis and Chips for afters!