Olivia Phipps reviews the line-up on offer for That Comedy Thing's first birthday

That Comedy Thing

The White Hart, London Road  

THAT Comedy Thing, hosted by Aurelia Arts and Felix La Revolucion, happens every first Monday of the month at The White Hart.

On February 3, it celebrated its first birthday, and I’m ashamed to say that this was my first visit. It was sold out – as I discovered when I got there – but there was still plenty of standing room at the back and cheap on-the-door tickets available.

Homemade cakes were available to enjoy for free while watching the acts, who lounged casually at the back, engaged in each other’s performances. Already it felt cosy, relaxed and welcoming.

The acts were a mixture of amateur and the more established, and styles varied across the board.

Local comedienne Cherie Giordmaine told twisting tales of her own past mishaps, including an unfortunate train journey to Aberdeen, while Ben Morgan focused on more political material.

The evening started off, however, with Nicholas Wright, who involved one member of the audience with his act through the use of puppetry, while later, Laurence Tuck earned some well-deserved applause for his dark, but often hilarious one-liners.

It was at this point that the party poppers really began to sound – a few are left on each seat at the beginning of the evening and, if an audience member deems a joke funny enough, the popper is pulled.

The extremely amiable Adam Larter followed, raising the energy in the room even further with his flip-chart version of the Avengers 2, featuring Michael Gove, as well as a staging of his play Billy the Cigarette, including full costume and an audience member fulfilling the role of a passing pigeon.

The headline act were sketch duo Ward & Watts, consisting of the very talented Alex Ward and Chloe Watts. Their quick wit and winning chemistry quickly captured the room and made sure the night ended on a real high.

This is a great night for comedians to try out new material and engage with a friendly, playful audience: a place for creativity to openly develop and flourish.
Most importantly, however, this is comedy without boundaries, pressures or a loud, drunk bloke at the back.

It may not be clean and pristine, but it’s lovely, it’s local and well, it’s just great.

*The next That Comedy Thing will take place on Monday, March 3. The line-up will include Darren Walsh, Joe Jacobs, Michael Brunstrom, Matt Smith, Benny Morgan and David Wiseau. Find out more by emailing aureliaarts@live.co.uk.   

Olivia Phipps

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