Performers: Ryan Mold, Carl Richards, Mick Mason, Matt Roseblade, Fiona Ridgewell
It’s hard to perform comedy to a small crowd, especially when acts are trying out new material. Tonight, at the Caxton Arms, we are a select, but happy, few looking to be entertained and what we get is some good laughs, small giggles and a few smiles here and there, in this mixed bag show
Ryan Mold is our compere and he is immediately keen to set expectations low, frequently pointing out the low numbers in the crowd. A professional comedian from Banbury, Mold is trying out bits and pieces of new material. He berates himself and the crowd if jokes don’t land and doesn’t really concentrate on building up a relationship with those gathered, like a good host should. He has some nice observations on the perils of selling goods on facebook marketplace and tells a good joke about the size of his head before it’s onto this first guest.
Carl Richards also dwells on the room not being full a little too long. He regales the throng about not being ready to be a dad, which shows a nice vulnerability, but labours through some sexual content which doesn’t really land. His mum is a born again christian but also declared as a “milf” by his friendship group. Rather than shy away from the label, she embraces it. This is a funny concept that gets a giggle in the room.
First timer Mick Mason has some charm. He acknowledges the awkwardness in the room and there is an endearing quality to him. He doesn’t really have any material as of yet but he is nice to watch and should keep going.
Fourth act of the evening, Matt Roseblade is a confident storyteller. From Tetbury in Gloucester he has a funny piece about the local woolsack races. Tetbury is known for having the Highgrove Estate on it; in the 1980/90’s Prince Charles lived there with Princess Dianna and the young Princes. Roseblade tells how he was contracted to populate the estate’s wild pools with frogs as he was known as the “Frog Lord” at school. It’s an odd tale which starts off with plenty of laughter but peters out to a stand still as the performer forgets the ending of his set.
Leaving the best till last, Fiona Ridgewell bounds up to the stage. With bags of energy and a refreshingly upbeat and gossipy delivery Ridgewell soon has the audience engaged and onside. Almost thirty and living with both her mother and grandmother, she wonders how this ever happened, and how she can get out of it. In a self assured set, the comedian warmly welcomes the crowd into her kooky world of hen-do mania, pegging out washing wrongly and the championing of Stacey Soloman. It’s not hard to see why she was a Funny Women 2020 finalist. With liberal laughter throughout she is a delight to watch and the highlight of the evening.
Reviewed on 11th June