Plenty of laughs delivered at postman’s knock knock

7 Dec 2012 @ 8.44 am
| Entertainment
Inching towards sex and Scotland: James Christopher
Review: Knock Knock Comedy Night
Venue: Post Office Social Club, Marygate, York, December 5

Knock Knock is York’s latest venture into live comedy. The Post Office Social Club on Marygate is a new venue for me and I have to say it is an excellent space.

There are good sightlines to the stage, the acoustics are clear, the table and chairs provide comfort and the bar sells a good selection of beers all at very keen prices. I’m guessing the venue can accommodate 300 people so with only around 60 in the audience it felt empty and that made it more difficult for the comedians to work up a great atmosphere.

Hosting the event was compere Nick Banks, a lively and quick-witted man. He passed on some pithy observations from his home town of Hartlepool, especially the chavs that roam the streets there. And I particularly liked his reading from Yahoo answers.

Where Nick’s introduction spot didn’t work for me was when he tried to engage with the audience. The, “what’s your name and what to do for a living?” can, in the hands of experts like Al Murray and Dara O’Briain, be the highlight part of the show as the comedian ad libs. But if there isn’t a quick riposte to Jim-the-Tax-Inspector then the momentum is lost and the whole thing stutters to a halt.

First act on was James Christopher, a local who is well known on the York comedy circuit through his involvement with the 1331 Comedy Club. James did a “greatest hits” version of a show he performed every night for 23 nights at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival earlier this year.

He pokes fun at himself as a Yorkshireman abroad and is self-deprecating when relating his sex (or rather lack of sex) life. His observations are acute and his tells them with wit and pathos. Best bits for me were his piece on things that are still measured in inches rather than metric and I am sure we will all smile if we ever encounter a Scots bank teller asking us to “confirm your account”. Try that with a Scottish accent and you will see what I mean.

Two short slots next, the first from Al C McWilliam. I thought he started off really well; confident and with a good take on his home town of Darlington – the accent and the people. Somehow he later lost his way and his piece on his “staying friends with your ex” left us all wondering what he was on about.

Clever and witty – Peter Marshall and Spencer Vale

Al was followed by Jerry Bochum – a guitar playing protest singer but one far removed from Bob Dylan. He has a beguiling naivety shown when he did a short song about Syria and even more so when he interrupted his song about rainbows and racism with a line about a master race. Well done to him for finding something to protest about in a hosepipe ban.

Before the final act, Nick returned to the stage to do an hilarious send-up of Fifty Shades of Grey read in the style of Frank Spencer. He then introduced Lomos 2 – a duo of Peter Marshall (vocals) and Spencer Vale (keyboards). The dozen-or-so songs were clever and witty some working much better than others.

I liked the portrayal of John Terry and Ashley Cole as a pair of “cheating, beating, girlfriend-stealing footballers.” The Hair Song made excellent use of rhyming and phrasing as did their piece about What’s An Egg. What didn’t go so well was their audience participation piece – which cannot work if the audience won’t participate(!) and their cover of Lady in Red.

Peter did engage with George in the audience and got some good banter going. There was a poor unsure ending when December Days was followed by uncertainty about the timing and questioning the sincerity of the applause.

Overall, I thought this a good start to an event that I hope goes from strength to strength. Nick held it all together and kept things moving along at a good pace. All the acts were of a decent enough quality and show plenty of potential.

The venue is excellent, although I advise them to move all the tables and chairs to the front of the auditorium in future. There are more good acts booked for the events in February and April. I will be going back and I hope the group from York Repro go too, next time as the minority rather than majority of the audience.