- By: Luke Rollason
Reviewer: Ben Pearson
Luke Rollason’s entertaining showcase of new talent shows us that the future of comedy is in very safe hands.
The show starts on a slightly off-tone as Rollason (our host) opens with some clunky prop comedy. Rollason’s awkward and self-deprecating energy doesn’t seem the right choice to start, and gives the next act a tough job to warm the audience up.
Thankfully, Christian Brighty is more than up to the challenge. Arriving to the stage dressed in period garb, performing as a Mr Darcy style character, the crowd are immediately won over. Brighty’s character is perfectly realised and his material lands well with some hilarious jokes.
Unfortunately, not all acts perform to such acclaim as the evening unfolds. Hanna Winter’s new age guru doesn’t hit the mark. Winter’s parody of yoga instructors with cosmic notions of “occupying the space” falls flat and puts a handbrake on the momentum of the show. The subject matter is well trodden and can be seen performed, in more original ways, from other artists on the circuit.
Aruhan Galieva is the closest the showcase comes to a straightforward stand up act. Talking about her experiences as an environmental activist, Galieva goes against all stereotypes of what the crowd thinks a “typical set” like this is going to be. No one expects a long rant about how much she loves bats, culminating in a song about them; it’s a truly unique take, expertly crafted, with the surprise reveal at the end being very funny indeed.
The absolute standout of the first act is Ted Hill. As a new act Hill shows a lot of potential and had the audience laughing from the moment he steps on the stage, and throughout his allotted time. Topics include his love of American presidents and his experience with drugs as a “chap”. Hill effortlessly commands the room, at a breakneck speed, and has an infectious energy that is impossible to resist. Hill is one to watch.
With the room warmed up to alternative acts, Rollason’s material in the second half goes down well. An absurd joke involving the love affair between a pair of tongs and a sieve brings plenty of laughter and readies us for part two.
First on this half, Sami Abu Wardeh gives us a fresh twist on the usual “foreign person in the UK” routine, as he lets us in on his playful look of his love of England. Wardeh earns strong laughs throughout his set, and his many gags about being a Palestinian are received well.
Freddie Hayes also gives us an interesting perspective on life, albeit one from a potato. Hayes wrings every joke she can from the subject, and has a natural charisma that keeps the crowd amused. The audience interaction section feels stilted and unnecessary, however, her charming performance more than counters the lull.
Sara Segovia is the penultimate act, and goes for a high risk strategy that relies heavily on audience participation. Thankfully the audience is willing and her gamble pays off. Arriving on stage as an alien who has crash landed on planet earth, Segovia makes her way through the audience, conquering humanity on her way. This section is entertaining and unexpected, working well with a fully receptive crowd.
The final act, Lachlan Werner, is the highlight of the second half. Werner delivers an impressive double act between him and expertly puppeteered Witch. Not only is Werner’s ventriloquism flawlessly delivered, but the room can feel real chemistry between the pair. Funny, captivating and skilfully performed to boot, Werner is one to seek out for yourself.
Barring a couple of minor missteps, Rollason curates here an amazing showcase of impressive comedians, filled to the brim with potential.
Reviewed on 1st June.