It’s always great to see more stand-up comedy in the city so I was pleased to hear the Solstice was staging a new monthly comedy night.
The Radius room above the the pub is a brilliant venue for stand up and the opening night featured a strong line-up that didn’t disappoint. First on stage was compere Kevin Shepherd (pictured left) who immediately got the 100+ audience crowd laughing with some lively interaction with the audience , and some quick fire responses to people’s jobs.
“What do you do for a living mate? You’re a plumber! Brilliant, well thanks for turning up on time.”
After establishing there was a table of lawyers at the front Kev told a story about his amicable divorce which only cost £99 as he did it online. This prompted one of the strangest heckles I’ve heard when a woman on another table shouted out – “Mine only cost me £40!”.
Next up was Joey Page (pictured right) who was given a huge welcome as he walked to the stage, but whose surreal comedy stylings definitely divided opinion. It’s easy to see why Noel Fielding had him on his team on the recent series of ‘Never Mind the Buzzcocks’ as they share similar comedy DNA.
From Joey’s opening joke, a whimsical variation on being mistaken for someone famous to an absurd anecdote about his mum buying the world’s best mop he delivered some very clever and inventive ideas. By the end of his 20 minute act there was enough of the audience on his wavelength to ensure his Reeves & Mortimer-esque visual ‘coat hangers for hands’ routine got a big reaction.
After the interval, Kevin kicked things off again, quieting down a noisy table and getting one audience member to turn around to face the stage – “C’mon mate, you’re not driving a taxi now.”
The middle-act Leo Kearse upped the tempo and signalled his intent to entertain by launching into dozens of pun-style one liners before settling into story telling mode and sharing some of his embarrassing life stories. The affable Scot also took time to give a brief history of Scotland’s love of deep fat frying food and the do’s and dont’s of holidaying in Thailand. Each routine was greeted with waves of laughter and I can easily see Leo becoming a headline act before too long based on this performance.
As it was, the last act, the ever reliable and endearing Brian Damage and Krysstal kept the room rocking with laughter. The duo are one of the most popular acts on the comedy circuit as well as the nicest. Always a crowd pleaser with comedic country & western songs and well crafted ad-libs Brian hails from the halcyon days of alternative comedy in the late 80s and with Krysstal they’ve developed a finely tuned odd couple act to the point where Brian storms off stage after a mock argument just so he can go outside for a fag. It’s unlike anything else you’ll see at a comedy night, but reassuringly funny and a perfect way to end a Friday night.
NEXT COMEDY NIGHT: Friday March 27. MC Ben van der Velde introduces Paul McMullan, Joshua Ross and Steve Day – Britain’s only deaf comedian. Tickets £7.50 available from The Solstice.