Review – Gareth Mutch and Tom Stade – Edinburgh Previews – The Comedy Crate at the Northampton Town Centre Hotel, 13th July 2023

Comedy CrateHot on the heels of last weekend’s mammoth and super-successful Comedy Crate Weekender, we’re down for three more evenings of Edinburgh Previews this month, starting with Gareth Mutch and Tom Stade at the newly branded Northampton Town Centre Hotel (that’s the old Park Inn if you’re still working in pounds, shillings and pence). Whilst you couldn’t say that the room where the show took place was glamorous – and indeed our two performers started their acts by acknowledging as much – it is functional, comfortable, and adjacent to a good bar and excellent toilets so you can’t say fairer than that.

Gareth MutchFirst up was Gareth Mutch – a name new to me, preparing for his Edinburgh show Belter. He’s a big, likeable lad, nicely self-deprecating about his self-confessed “odd” shape, and he uses his relaxed story-telling style to deliver some fun material about someone he met on a train and a creepy front-row comedy club fan. Very much in Preview territory – as he would be the first to admit – so not every punch landed, possibly because we were an older demographic than he is targeting. He’s great at setting up a rapport with the audience and found just the one fellow vaper – good old Balpreet. He has excellent material concerning vaping, by the way, all of which was fresh and fun and which I can’t remember hearing mentioned by another comic, so it’s a good subject to develop! An enjoyable and entertaining hour which I’m sure will grow into an excellent Fringe show.

Tom StadeAfter the interval it was time for Tom Stade, previewing his Edinburgh Show Natural Born Killer. It’s to my shame that I’ve never seen Tom Stade before and boy, have I been missing out. Few comics can aspire to his clearly innate ability to be funny from the very start. I know it’s a cliché, but the man could stand on the stage and read a shopping list and it would be hilarious. There’s very little brushing-up required to make this show Fringe-perfect; he has an amazing rapport with the crowd, chatting with many of us including me (that’s Chris, 63) and my father-in-law aka Lord Prosecco, Bill, 80.) I mention the ages because it’s a vital part of this show – setting yourself in your formative decade and never growing up afterwards. He has brilliant material about the words you can and cannot use today – and it’s not in a GB News-type right-wing moany way but in an incredibly inventive, challenging way that sees the funny side of it all. Packed with superb observations, terrific asides, and way more than a laugh a minute. Can’t wait to see him again!

More Edinburgh Previews ahead – we’ve just booked to see Paul Sinha and Jo Caulfield on Saturday, should be great!

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