Brighton Fringe 2016
Komedia’s monthly night of exciting new comedy, bridging the gap between new acts, and established comics. MC Barry Ferns hosts a friendly, fast-paced night featuring headline comic Sofie Hagen, rising comedians Rachel Paris, Dinesh Nathan, Daniel Duffy (played by Micheal Stranney), Graeme Collard, Lawry Tilbury, and Louise Reay.
I could barely contain my excitement, as MC Barry Ferns explained to us the set up of the night; three sets, a break, three sets, a break, and our headliner (Sofie Hagen). The line up is one that I would create in perfect world; chatty Graeme Collard, deadpan Lawry Tilbury, unhinged but beautiful Rachel Paris, sharp-witted and blunt Dinesh Nathan, the insane Louis Reay, wonderfully accurate character set from ‘Daniel Duffy’, and finally a woman who is ready and willing to prove that being fat does not mean being friendly; Sofie Hagen.
Taken somewhat for granted by the audience, our MC Barry Ferns was our staple of comedy gold for the evening. Barry had a tough job, as due to the festival, the venue had not sold to capacity, which left an odd atmosphere within the audience before the show began. World-weary from our days at work, however, Barry picked us up and cuddled us with an energetic and uplifting comedy hug. The man has some material that most comedians would only dream of having the presence of mind to articulate, and, it has to be said, Barry does resemble the dog from Never Ending Story, as he quite rightly pointed out.
Graeme Collard was our first act, a likeable, chatty and energetic act who left the audience grinning at the fact he doesn’t need to eat manly meat to feel good, but rather couscous is his meal of choice. Lawry Tilbury then took up the mantle, allowing the audience to enjoy his pleasantly bonkers material, delivered in a deadpan way that left many of us bemused, but in a good way. An intriguing personality. Then onto the stage stepped Rachel Paris, accompanied by a keyboard; we knew we were in for a treat. Rachel spoke in a brilliantly relatable way about cutting her own fringe after a break up (we all do it), and sung us what is possibly now my favourite song, about the one time she decided to go to the gym. Rachel is a sure bet to head to the dizzy heights of comedy fame, definitely one to watch, go and see her if you get the chance. The second section of the show was opened by an act that we learnt, to our surprise, had only performed his comedy four times previously. We never would have known, his confident, straight-faced delivery and outstanding material left not only myself, but another two ladies in the audience wanting more, as I overheard in the toilet queue “I just wanted him to carry on all night! He’s fit too!” Praise indeed. Again, seek out Dinesh if you can, he is one to watch. From Dinesh to Louis Reay, the audience had seemingly stepped into an alternate universe. Louise spoke only in Chinese (accurate or not, we have no way of knowing!), and used props and visual elements of comedy in an expert way to get the laughter up to a knotch that involved a lot of snorting, and more than one person crying with laughter. Reluctant audience member Danny was tricked onto the stage, and dressed as a giant baby while he laughed so much he actually looked like he might explode. I want to see more of Louise, she definitely had us all hooked! Our penultimate act was the brilliant Daniel Duffy played by Michael Stranney, a comedian who made me cry with laughter. The character he played was of such subtle accuracy that even his pause to take a sip of water was hilarious. A wonderful, imaginative and perceptive comic, once again, seek him out if you can, you will not be disappointed! Finally, our headliner, Sofie Hagen who recently appeared on Live from the BBC, and has won various comedy awards entered the stage with the self-confidence that meant we knew we were in safe hands. More fool us for believing Sofie’s grin could mean that her wit wasn’t razor sharp, much the same as her retorts on the subject of her weight, as she proved consistently through her set.
Comic Boom is so far my highlight of the Brighton Fringe, a night of outstanding comedy which gives new acts the chance to showcase themselves and hone their skills. The good thing about the night is that you can find it on the last Thursday of every month at the Komedia, and I couldn’t recommend it more highly. A summary of all that is great on the UK comedy scene, go and see it!