Ludlow Fringe Festival 2019
A hugely enjoyable summer night in the Brewery with two up and coming comics.
It’s probably best if you are a newcomer to the Ludlow Fringe to arrive at the gig on time and get stuck in as soon as possible! Sadly for our guests, who arrived an hour after the advertised start having driven up from London, their estimation of arriving in Ludlow in time being wildly optimistic. As Stephen Carlin pointed out, putting slow-moving tractors in your way is not helpful, but then we all know that particular peril on the by-roads of Shropshire… Sadly for our first comedian his late arrival had rather dissipated the buoyant mood of the audience (although being in the Ludlow Brewery on a warm summer night had some compensations). Trevor Tokabi took to the stage on a wave of relief and anticipation and his gentle African humour began well with some nice anecdotes and good lines “My father put me on the plane from the Ivory Coast telling me it was a school trip. The longest school trip of my life”. We all responded well to that but sadly for him the rambling anecdotes became less engaging without enough pithy jokes. What jokes there were tended to be explained after they’d been delivered which is rarely a good thing. Hopefully Trevor will have sharpened up his stories to be less scatalogical (a little too much information about his teenage sex education), less meandering and a lot more more incisive. I wish him well in Auld Reekie.
Stephen Carlin proved more to the audience’s taste and his direct and bold humour recaptured the good mood. Stephen, working from his notebook (as is appropriate to an Edinburgh Preview show), soon abandoned the notes in favour of engaging directly with the audience and this repartee generated some nice heckling which he fielded with great skill. A diversion about Mycroft Holmes spending time in an Opium Den yielded one wag to shout “Is that why you were late?” which Stephen retorted with lightning wit “If I had been in one I wouldn’t be here at all”. The Mycroft story was part of a general discourse on ‘Just showing up” which was nicely ironic and led to characters from the Bible and from politics being cited as the difference between being there and not being there. This led to further comparisons between Liberals and Conservatives which glided nicely over specifics and became something more loose, general and amusing. Other discourses on children and other animals (and ants) went down well too. His engagement with the audience was excellent and his “I should just come to this gig and start the writing process here” seemed a splendid plan to me as he is clearly a grand slam master of the tennis game between performer and heckler.