A jovial crowd gathered in Castle’s Great Hall on Saturday for an eclectic night of comedy, showcasing the best comedic talent that Durham has to offer.
David Knowles, who puts a smile on your face just with the smile on his, was the charming and enthusiastic host of Castle Theatre Company’s Comedy Cabaret. This was to be an entertaining and irreverent evening of stand-up, sketches, and comedy songs.
Mike Bedigan was first up. This Fresher from Castle has already become well-known for his comic talent and got the show off to an excellent start with his very personal brand of stand-up. He had us laughing in less than ten seconds by playing on his uniquely amusing stature (he’s rather short).
He left me wistful for the holidays with his reminiscences about Christmas in a very successful and well-sustained routine and appealed to the audience of Durham students with many witty observations about life in ‘the bubble’.
Mike was followed by Adam Cook, whose routine, although slightly patchy, did have me giggling. His bizarre leaps from topic to topic added to the pleasing randomness.
Massive Dad, a trio of Durham alumni and ex-members of the Durham Revue, were the highlight of the evening.
Their diverse range of sketches was drawn together by a central narrative in which they played a group of confused eastern European comedians, complete with distinctive accents and a chronic shortage of brain cells.
They very kindly gave the bemused audience an explanation of the idea of ‘sketch comedy’, just in case we failed to realise that the scenes we were about to see were in fact fictional.
The following sketches covered everything from sex deniers (?) to children’s stories to kidnapping, to time travel to that irritating situation when you think of a great comeback just after the argument has finished.
Musical comedy is definitely one of the most difficult acts to pull off and Charlotte Whistlecroft made a very fine attempt.
Her first offering, ‘a song about fat people’, although truly relatable for all New Year’s resolution-breakers, was a little too repetitive for my taste. The second was fantastic, exploiting the rich mine of Durham hatred for ‘Oxbridge wankers.’
Elgan Alderman, pun machine, gave us a relentless stream of groan-inducing one-liners at which you couldn’t help smiling, whilst shaking your head in disbelief at his seemingly endless supply of witticisms.
Finally, the Durham Revue, who are currently celebrating forty years in existence. Their sketches worked better in their Assembly Rooms show last week; there were a few technical mishaps and the limited stage space was not ideal.
However, a slightly less slick production did not make the jokes any less funny and the cabaret style leant itself easily to a friendly rapport with the audience.
Any show that includes a tiger onesie, plenty of innuendo, Simon Gallow screaming at the top of his voice, and ends with a musical number and a cereal-strewn stage, gets a thumbs-up from me.
Photographer: Emma Wind