Marie-Louise Wohrle reviews an entertaining mixed bag of comedy at Buttered Toast presents: the BIG FUNNY.
After a last minute venue change, Buttered Toast Presents: the BIG FUNNY took place in the back room of St. Cuthbert’s Society’s bar, which ended up being somewhere between too small for the crowd, and cosy (in a Fringe venue sort of way…) The show itself felt almost split in half – the first half, made up of three stand-up performers and a musical comedian, was a show at which almost anyone would have a good time. The second half was more x-rated, and suited to a late night crowd.
The stand-up acts were overall genuinely enjoyable. There was a mix of surprisingly original content alongside more standard stand-up jokes around having to write a stand-up set, audience interaction, and free therapy. A surprising theme of the first half were family relations, and especially grandmothers. Overall, comperes Auguste Voulton and Alex Griffin did well setting the performance order in preparation, providing both a strong opening half, and a strong ending. Their overall crowd work throughout the night helped the show and space, although they did at times struggle to get the attention of their audience.
Mitch Walker did well opening the night, and the audience warmed up quickly to him. Though at times pausing a lot within sentences, he performed a good set with mostly elegant segues between his set items (the latter being more of an exception in this showcase). This was no mean feat, considering how his set covered wide array of topics, from exam season to the Jaws theme. Rachel Moberly followed with an equally good set, keeping up a strong pace with some Northern life jokes, high-energy punchlines, and the longest set-up for a pun of the night (which was lovingly begroaned by the audience, as any pun should be). Following them was MC Delta T, who first improvised a rap (about the ginger Vincent, guinea pigs, and circumcision), and then performed two written parodies. What I could hear was good, and he must have put an impressive amount of work both into writing the parodies and learning to improvise rap. Sadly, at times he was drowned out by both the music and general bar noises. Closing the first half was Serena Smart, who is honestly a talented and charismatic stand-up. The second half of her set was a little unstructured in comparison to her quickfire, high-energy first half. She ended her set on a nice callback that was sadly lost in the noise of people getting up for drinks. Also, congratulations on the college marriage, (and the Tindur!).
Marsupial Soup, the musical intermission, were a bold but good choice. They didn’t know why they were performing at a stand-up show, I didn’t know why they were performing at a stand-up show, no one else seemed to know why they were performing at a stand-up show, but I am glad they did. I enjoyed both their covers and original music, and it is a pity they had to contend with a lot noisy chatter from the hallway.
The second half was opened by Alex Ottie. He has an individual style which I haven’t really seen in stand-up before, but it seemed to resonate with some audience members. It did also make others very uncomfortable. John Broadhead on the other hand handled his first stand-up performance impressively. Although still in a territory that not every audience member wanted to hear about, his stand-up set was possibly the most linearly put-together of the night and performed with good comedic timing. Abraham Mendes da Costa’s set was shorter, less filled with punchlines and less dramatic, but also well done for a first performance, and I am curious to see his style develop. Henry Gould, another first-time performer closed the two-hour long evening with some good crowdwork and enthusiastic performance style. (Also, bonus points for a good rant about Ru Paul’s Drag Race!)