Wandsworth Fringe 2015
Al Cowie runs this comedy night for the Ram Brewery on a regular basis. Tickets are £30 and the beer is free. The series is a project to finance the place and keep it in operation. The brewery was established in 1971 and is approaching its 44th anniversary. In 1995, they began brewing their own beer and that is what guests are served at this unique comedy venture. It is now part of an extensive redevelopment plan and cannot sell the beer brewed there while the construction is going on. In order to keep it functioning and funded, Al Cowie and John Hatch have created this monthly series of events
This program consisted of 2 previews of established UK comedians’, Matt Price and Milo McCabe as Troy Hawke. Both men were at the top of their game that night and if their performances were an indication of the caliber of each show, one must not miss the actual finished product in Edinburgh. Each was outstandingly funny in his own way.
Bryce has superb audience presence and much of his show was an interchange with his audience. “It takes a lot of courage for a guy like me to put away the binoculars and step out of the bushes to talk to a lovely girl like you,” he informed one audience member. He maintains that all his stories, as preposterous as they seem, are true and his take on each story endeared him to this particular audience, well lubricated with all the beer they could drink. Bryce even gave them a bathroom break in the middle of his set. He talks a bit about his life in Cornwall working in a fish factory and observed: “Boredom for me was removing bones from salmon with tweezers.” As he previews his show, it will come together and tighten. His remarks are very random and do not seem to be inter-related but he maintains there is an underlying theme: Trying (and failing) to do things right.
The second preview was Milo McCabe’s Troy Hawke, a take off on Errol Flynn and it was superb. It is impossible to capture the ridiculousness of McCabe’s overstated personification with a quote because it is his stance, his pauses, his intonation that make every joke so very funny. “My father died several years before I was born,” he said. And, “I knew I was different from other children the very first day I left the house. I was 25.” The crowd could not get enough of him.
All in all, the evening was a huge success and delivered far more than it promised. Each show was excellent, and left the audience wanting more. Al Cowie is a superb host, never upstaging the acts yet priming the audience for a wonderful evening.