Featuring: Shelf, Jen Ives, Leila Navabi, Helen Bauer
Reviewer: Simon Topping
On a not so sleepy Sunday evening in The Basement, Komedia Brighton introduce their new inclusive and unconventional alternative comedy night, Down the Hatch.
Our hosts are the non gender binary duo Shelf; an enthusiastic pair who comfortably ease the crowd into the night’s shenanigans with their charming banter. Rachel and Ruby funnily describe how they are often mis-gendered as boys. Rachel regales the audience with a story about being mistaken for a very young lad in a pub toilet and Ruby plays guitar and sings about the experiences they both have, often at the hands of confused older women, of being denied access to women’s toilets. We then discover a little more about the origins of Rachel’s vast overconfidence and are treated to the very funny song, You can’t Bully Sexy. There is great chemistry between the double act, who have known each other since their secondary school days, and this is a strong start to the show, which has the room in fits of giggles.
The first act of the night is Jen Ives, a confident, playful comedian who quickly has the gathering in the palm of her hands. Ives covers a plethora of material and has a strong set, which is well received. The disastrous experiences she has dating as a trans woman get some of the biggest laughs. Ives lovingly jibes her audience members and has a strong sense of the absurd, as well as an innate silliness, which is fabulous to watch. Her take on how society views old people, pre and post pandemic is hilarious and the joy in which she delivers her material is infectious.
Second up is Leila Navabi, who talks about navigating being gay when she has a middle eastern Muslim father and Welsh catholic mother. She has a lovely segment about going on a date to the dentists and also about falling in love with her best friend. She is an engaging performer. The bulk of Navabi’s set is centred around the national news story she found herself embroiled in having performed some comedy about Rishi Sunak on BBC Radio Wales; a throw away observation which snowballed into a UK tabloid scandal. In among the laughs here we see a deeper point about the aggressive nature of twenty four hour rolling news and the detrimental mental health effects it can cause. Above all it is a funny piece, with accompanying slide show.
Helen Bauer finishes off the evening with some funny observations about her nature and life that have the audience rocking with laughter. Bauer immediately takes control of the room and demands respect. She too is self confessed overly confident, almost to the point of a cheery form of nihilism.
With a high energy delivery, akin to a sugared up child in a wind tunnel, Bauer blasts the audience with her funniness until the audience admit defeat. Funny pieces about her early school days and fledgling sexuality have the crowd laughing heartily, providing a solid ended to the night’s entertainment.
Down the Hatch proves to be a good night out for all; a comedy night worth the watch and raucously ready to entertain.
Reviewed on 13th March 2022.
Regularly on the Second Sunday of each month