Autumn must be here if Screaming Blue Murder has returned to the Derngate. The last season was a huge success with nearly every night a sellout. Obviously not so many people realised the season has started again as it was a fairly quiet night, which was a shame as they missed out on some top comedy.
Dan Evans returns as our host and proves himself to be the compère beyond compare. As always he gets a great rapport going with the front row audience, which this week had a few minefields, with a group of guys minding a mate fresh out of prison (apparently) and another guy on a first date with a girl who had got absolutely sloshed by the first interval. Nevertheless he safely steered us through choppy waters to a comedy safe harbour.
Our first act was James Sherwood, who has a very quiet and reflective style and an amusing sense of slightly pompous self-satisfaction. The majority of his act was stationed at the keyboard, pointing out some ridiculous aspects of pop song lyrics. It was very clever and funny material; some of it sustained laugh out loud stuff, some a more contented chuckle, but all very enjoyable.
Second was the very different Maureen Younger, full of attack and not afraid to grapple with the bawdier aspects of life. She’s a naturally funny person, with very good material and a nice sense of self-deprecation. She built up a great relationship with the audience and her ebullience created an excellent contrast with the quiet introversion of the first act.
Last up was Ola, a late change of performer I think, and the only one of the three whom we had seen before. Again a very different kind of performer who delivers his material with supreme confidence at a deliberately slow and thoughtful pace; he builds up an air of being slightly arrogant and dismissive of fools – but then pricks his own balloon with subtle punch lines. He’s one of those comedians where his presence is totally engrossing all the way through; part one-act one-man comedy play, part rapid-reacting comic ping-pong with the audience. Terrific stuff.
A really well structured evening of comedy, and you can’t get better chuckle-value for your £12.50. On again in two weeks time – sadly we can’t make that one, why don’t you go and let me know how it went?