A curious night at the Malarkey on Tuesday, but things always go wrong when there is a reviewer in the house. In this case it was Steve "Chortle" Bennett in attendance.
First up was local lad Dave Purdy. A nice opening from Dave but things seemed to go downhill after that.
The main problem I found was he just didn't seem that believable on stage. The material seemed very scripted and lacked that spontaneity. And when Dave singled out a member of the audience for ridicule, he lost even more of the crowd. This wasn't a death by any stretch of the imagination, just a quiet one and nothing like as good as the last time he did Malarkey.
Nothing that can't be solved by more stage time though. Still a very promising comic talent.
Next up was Malarkey regular, cheeky chipmunk, Geoff Taylor. And this lad just gets better and better every time.
Geoff's wry topical observations are a sure-fire winner every time at Malarkey. An animated and engaging comic with more surprises than you can shake a Milky Bar at. The timing and delivery is bang on the money, the only criticism would be he could do with projecting a little more. He was a little quiet at times. Either that or we need to buy a bigger PA!
After the break, Ross Wagman took to the Malarkey stage and just couldnít seem to find his way through the set.
He started off okay, but he was having to check his notes which means the audience just lost confidence in him. Shame, because last time he was on at Malarkey he stormed it.
The penultimate act of the evening was Scottish lass, Louise Stevenson.
An amenable comic with a confident delivery, but the material is lacking at best. Lacking punchlines to be precise. Louiseís long winded observations and tall tales donít really go anywhere. More of a fade than a crescendo.
After the break, Tribe Malarkey was treated, or rather abused, with ten minutes of the best Toby Hadoke compering I have ever seen.
Toby was clearly angry and channelled that anger into a tear inducing rant. Act of the night for me.
Set the crowd up brilliantly for the headliner, Junior Simpson.
Junior has attracted a lot of criticism from reviewers. "Living proof that style often triumphs over content." - Steve Bennett.
And to be fair, they have a point. There isnít anything new about Junior's material, in fact itís distinctly average, or even below, and he pulls the race card far too frequently for my taste.
On the flipside, his delivery, timing and stage presence is second to none. Itís a tribute to his flawless, energetic and charismatic performance that he can raise the roof with below par material. A crowd-pleasing talent and a well deserved encore. Itís frightening to think how good he would be if the material was up to scratch.
See you next week for one of my favourite acts on the circuit, Noel James.