By Florence Lunnon
The Assembly Rooms theatre was buzzing on Sunday evening in anticipation of an evening of laughter. It was so refreshing to see faces old, new, local and student all heading to the theatre to support The Late Night Comedy Lock-in, and they were certainly not disappointed.
We were greeted with the fantastic Broccan Tyzack-Carlin as our host for the evening, a loud and high-energy alumnus, who ensured that the transitions between acts were as much to look forward to as the acts themselves. The evening also featured the newest generation of the Durham Revue, as well as the Stand Society, Buttered Toast and headliner Lauren Pattison. It was an amazing collection of different comedic styles, ensuring that there truly was something for everyone in the audience.
Broccan Tyzack-Carlin was the show’s ultimate hype man, perfectly celebrating each oncoming performer alongside getting his own share of laughs as he read a selection of his witty poems in between the acts. It was fantastic to see an alumnus back at home on the stage of The Assembly Rooms Theatre. Engaging in “obligatory audience participation” alongside his poetry, Tyzack-Carlin’s hilariously singled out one person sitting in the front row to be picked on by all the other proceeding performers.
The enthusiasm of the host was equally matched by The Durham Revue, debuting their latest intake of talented sketch comedy wizzes who had us in stitches for the whole of their act. All the performers seamlessly and energetically switched between a hilarious variety of characters (Bob Howat’s witch was a particular highlight). A brilliant and inspiring start to the Revue’s season, which left the audience thoroughly wanting more.
The Stand Society were completely at home in The Assembly Rooms theatre too, exhibiting a diverse trio of stand-up comics: James Murray, Amir Davies and Sascha Lo. Effortlessly transitioning from their usual Holy Grael venue to the larger Assembly Rooms stage, these 3 talented performers commanded the stage with striking confidence, demonstrating contrasting yet complimenting styles. Sascha Lo, as the finale performer, delivered an especially impressive performance of character-driven comedy, playing on “rah” stereotypes that felt all too familiar to the student-dominated audience. A perfect finisher to the Society’s set.
Buttered Toast also had their turn at sketch comedy, displaying some great comic characters between them. Although at times certain lines were lost due to a lack of projection which inevitably meant some jokes were dropped or lost, they were able to create a series of convincing yet alarming situations which had the audience laughing along with them.
The headline act was the standout performance of the night, and it was a great experience to welcome an external comedian to The Assembly Rooms. Lauren Pattison, a Newcastle born-and-bred performer, provided a fabulous finale. Her skilful delivery reached out to every audience member as if she was speaking to each one directly, whilst also ensuring the whole auditorium was united in hysterics. A particularly enjoyable gag involved her ostensibly traumatic break-up with her boyfriend, which was so ironically conveyed that it had the audience in laughter. The ability to turn events on their head for comedic gain was a skill that Pattison had mastered perfectly, speaking similarly about her experiences in the pandemic. She is a comedian that I would recommend watching anywhere, at any time. She was the ideal headliner for the show.
Taking a holistic view, it would have been potentially preferable to reorder the show’s act. Although each individual act was incredibly funny, having them placed in a slightly different order would inevitability have built up more momentum to welcome in Pattison’s final headline act. However, that said, whenever there was any sort of lull, you could be sure that Tyzack-Carlin would bound in from the wings, poem in hand, ready to keep the audience on their toes.
Student talent and professional expertise were brought together to create an incredible show. The Late Night Comedy Lock-in was a terrific end to what has been a monster Michaelmas term.
Image credit: The Durham Revue