With the weather so hot this weekend (we’re not complaining…honestly), many are taking refuge for some longer stints in some of the more covered arenas and, particularly with Dylan Moran ensuring the comedy tent is jam-packed, this includes the cabaret.
Kicking off a couple of hours worth of ‘fun’ is Zack Zucker, who has come all the way from New York to fall absolutely flat on his face. That may sound harsh but even he knows he messes every single aspect of his performance, if you can call it that at all, up and he appears to me the comic with absolutely no material whatsoever. Reading notes off his hand and still never seeming to reach the point, he is guided along by his helper sat in the audience who encourages him to repeat jokes in the hope of a better execution and by the end of his slot people are asking him to get off stage, politely of course – this is Latitude after all.
Things can surely only get better so some of us stick around for the next act which, with the nature of the arena having a large and a small stage side-by-side, arrives on stage seconds after Zucker heads off to reevaluate his set; cue comedy duo, Lazy Susan. Arriving with wigs over their faces and paper lips, the pair is fond of its sketches and there are pockets of good material among some that fall well below par and cause attention to wander back to the schedule at times. They do at least show some promise and raise a few laughs with some of the more observational sketches. There’s certainly a sense of them being at the beginning of their comedy journey and will fine-tune their act as they go along.
Next up is Tessa Coates, a somewhat anecdotal comedian who is one-third of the Sketch group, Massive Dad, although solo for this outing. Starting strong, she manages to wake a sleeping crowd and does begin to claw back our attention a little more although this sadly doesn’t last. Once again, some of the observational bits are pleasing, if somewhat unmemorable after the fact, but she winds up just having a bit of a chat and the time feels quite wasted; we’re very aware that she’s gently humorous but the material needs a lot of pruning to really raise any roofs.
Last up in this particular stint, before the air gets too thick to breathe properly and the water bottles evaporate, is Mawaan Rizwan. Having supported some fairly big names, expectations are a little higher and there is hope he’ll be the rescue we’re looking for. He doesn’t entirely disappoint, and is by far the best of the bunch, but needs to do more of what he is good at and work out some continuously strong material. A keen dancer, he mixes storytelling with stand-up and bursts into song on occasion. Trying too hard to make being gay a big deal (come on, it’s 2018!), he works he way through tales of his boyfriend and hiding his homosexuality from his parents and attempts to shock with mentions of anal. Sometimes very funny, sometimes falling short, he’s got great potential and it wouldn’t take much for him to craft his wit into something great.
The heat finally takes its toll and water is sought but it’s fair to say the Cabaret Tent offerings appear to be just as random as they have always been – in the words of Lazy Susan “it was a bit of a punt”.