Sunday, 6 March 2011

Screaming Blue Murder- Royal & Derngate, Northampton

Compere: Dan Evans
Performers: Dan Antopolski, Martin Coyote, Chris Lynam
Reviewer: Rachael Martin

Having promoted live comedy from comedians of all walks of life, the Screaming Blue Murder comedy club hosts in venues across the UK, bringing unique acts to audiences everywhere. One venue which hosts the Screaming Blue Murder comedy club once a fortnight is the Royal & Derngate in Northampton, where your reviewer went to suss whether or not whether the comedy club would be a good choice of entertainment for your Friday night.

As usual the evening is hosted by a compere, who guides us through the evening and introduces us to the three chosen acts, segregated by two intervals where revellers can flock to the nearby bar for refreshments. In the case of the evening I reviewed the three acts were Martin Coyote, Chris Lynam and the leading act Dan Antopolski, hosted by compere Dan Evans.

To kick off the evening Dan Evans warmed the cockles of the audience, seamlessly performing gags and clever one liners that in my opinion deemed him worthy of a act all to himself. He then introduced Martin Coyote, a charming, laddish man in his 50’s with a distinctly ‘Have I Got News For You’ sense of humour, combining witty anecdotes on Britain today with wry observations on politicians and heads of state.

Next up was Chris Lynam, a manic performer with an almost circus-like ability to pull things out of thin air, performing stunts with an almost improvisational feel (although I am sure his escapades with a fire extinguisher were well rehearsed!) Lynam’s performance seemed to split the audience 50/50, a ‘Marmite’ reaction if you will- half the audience, including myself, felt detached from his rather odd, crazed and unpredictable performance style, whilst the other half (including g my partner) responded with great enthusiasm, one person even dubbing him ‘the weirdest, best thing I’ve ever seen’.

The final act of the evening was the headline act Dan Antopolski, and Edinburgh Fringe regular and winner of the Dave Award for ‘Joke of the Year’. As you can imagine, I had high expectations of this performer- and unfortunately this was when the evening’s entertainment fell a little short. Although some of his jokes were admittedly clever and he humorously shared his relatable views on having children and living in a big city, some f his jokes seemed very well rehearsed, making me feel his performance could have been so much stronger if he had only brought soe new material to work with. However, when he was (unfortunately) heckled by an audience member near the end of his act, Antopolski really came into his own with witty and improvisational put downs that were, ironically, the best part of his performance.

All in all, the evening of comedy courtesy of ‘Screaming Blue Murder’ did not fail to provide comedic variety and a evening of entertainment for all ages. If you are looking for something new to do on a Friday night, stepping away for the television and towards the Derngate’s live comedy would be fully recommended.

Screaming Blue Murder currently can be viewed at the Royal & Derngate, Northampton, for one Friday each fortnight.
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