Review: TakeOver13: Comedy Night #2
Venue: York Theatre Royal, Saturday, June 8
York Theatre Royal’s Takeover Festival was well underway by the time their comedy night hit the stage, an intriguing line-up headlined by Noel James. It was affected by the sunny weather, leaving the stalls at the Theatre Royal feeling a little cavernous for stand up, being maybe half full.
Our compere for the evening Chris Turner kicked off proceedings with an amusing bit of banter with the crowd. Some lovely self-deprecating gags about his dress sense went over very well, before he busted into what was my favourite bit of the night, a gangster rap generated by random words from the crowd. For a young middle-class white man dressed like his grandfather, the boy can freestyle.
Michael J Dolan on the other hand, is a ball of neuroses; his entire set is about how rubbish the world, and the people in it, are. My major issue with Dolan’s performance is that it felt like a run through for his Edinburgh Festival show, but way too early in its development. Some great material in there, but needs more work before being exposed to a crowd who paid £15 a ticket.
After an interval (which at 15 minutes felt too long) we returned to a set from Chris Stokes, who again, felt like he was working through new material in preparation for Edinburgh. One or two very strong gags and a decent Alan Bennett impression didn’t quite compensate for a very self-indulgent set, which felt more like a Stewart Lee tribute act. (Oh, and he looks more like Lord Sebastian Coe than Brian Cox).
York’s own Ben “Spoon’ Winterton was up next for a quick open spot, rattling off some decent one-liners, all nervous energy and twitchy delivery.
After another break it was time for our headline act, Noel James. Welshman James is another act who seems like he doesn’t really know what kind of comedian he wants to be.
The crowd seemed to enjoy his whimsical, surreal set, but for me it veered from one extreme to another, at points sounding like Bill Bailey, and at others doing silly wordplay. For me, the highlight of his set was a Robert De Niro impression which was uncanny.
An amusing enough evening, deserving of a bigger audience, but a lower price! My wife and I left the show talking more about the compere Chris Turner than any other acts. If you get a chance, see him.