NEWBIE night at The Stand – Red Raw – saw another raft of comedy neophytes take the stage as well as some old hands taking some new material out for a walk, all hosted by ebullient Mancunian Vince Atta who kept things bubbling along on an enjoyable night of entertainment.
First up on this packed bill was Chris Norton-Walker, a splendidly self effacing comic with a dry delivery and some fine one-liners with occasionally the odd Tim Vine-esque bad pun thrown in for good measure.
Rory Telfer’s style was equally dry but much darker with some vaguely disturbing material which was well delivered but begged the question how far can he go down this particularly bleak comedy cul-de-sac and still take the audience with him.
A bit jollier and a bit more old school was Northern Irish comic Alan Irwin, another deliverer of dry lines whose material about store cards and his parents was well received if not quite achieving belly laughs.
Dan Petherbridge, on straight after the first break, produced a very assured performance which was even more impressive given his mere seventeen years. He had some great gags about the tooth fairy, nursery rhymes and the difficulties of speaking to girls, all delivered with a very approachable studied nervousness.
Slick, confident and with a few genuine zingers, Hari Srikantha is already a polished act. His material, particularly his excellent take on the phone hacking scandal, was well written and timed to perfection but on occasion there was a certain bored air to his delivery that let him down.
Headlining was the Irish sketch comedy trio Foil Arms and Hog (a name they really should change), whose sketches such as the fantastic and increasingly bizarre take on sand castle one-upmanship must mean that they will be worth looking out for when they inevitably return to the city around August.
This was a mixed bag of performance styles, experience, age and material from some comedians already capable of commanding a room and others in need of a little more practice, but with a door price of £2.00 the crowd got much more than value for money.