|The Leyton Star|
After hosting over forty people for Yuriko Kotani's preview last month I braced myself for a quieter night. Januaries aren't the best of months for getting people out the house and, though Nathan Cassidy is a seasoned pro when it comes to fifty minute shows, he doesn't have quite the profile of Yuriko. It was with some nerves at 7.45pm that I surveyed a largely empty room ready for the show to begin.
But I was, of course, being my usual pessimistic self and come 8.05 every seat in the room was taken and I was getting people to clap on cue to Selfie Stick. A 90% local crowd, it looks like the night is establishing itself nicely in this ever so up and coming area.
The first half acts were strong throughout - Max Fleming, Peter Latham, Matt Duwell and Maddie Campion all put in well received sets and - after arriving late - Chelsea Hart was able to mix up her opera singing and observational humour for five minutes. Last minute addition to the bill, Sarah Callaghan, also kept people laughing. What made this bill great, aside from the obvious talent, was the variety of comedy on offer. Low energy, high energy, observational, self depricating, a near equal split of men and women on both the younger and older ends of the spectrum. It's a template I intend to replicate from now on.
Nathan's second half show was amusing and thought provoking. Following the theme of being brave he indirectly cast his eye across the YOLO generation, perhaps without even realising, and included the crowd throughout. Well worth seeing should you have missed him this time.
All that remained was to thank people for coming and stare incredulously at the three young well dressed guys who'd sat in the front row throughout and donated about 53p between them. Time to start charging or at least offer reservations for a fiver.
Comedy B East, 20.1.17
|Peter Merrett at Comedy B East|
The pub itself reminded me of Leytonstone's Plough and Harrow, where I set up my first open mic some four years ago. Not overly busy but with friendly staff and drinkers not particularly interested in comedy but happy to welcome you in. Navigating the pool table, I stepped into the well soundproofed (always a bonus) performance room and had a chat to the assembled performers.
Come 8.30 it was clear we were going to be performing to each other plus two well wishers from the bar. Peter kicked things off by asking pretty much everyone in the room how their week had gone and then handed over to Sonia Aste, who worked through some new material in her trademark style of giving a list of topics to someone in the front row to announce and cross off as she went - somewhat like a one-woman Mock The Week.
From there on in the performances were patchy, though less awkward than might have been predicted from the audience numbers. I closed the first half with three tracks and settled in for a second half where, in the words of the host himself, things were "pretty fucking weird". Having watched the final act stomp about the stage shouting it was time to hop back on the tube to Leyton.
The venue is great, the location less so, but with a lovely atmosphere and genuinely nice people it's well worth a punt.