Review: Red Raw, The Stand

Compere Ray Bradshaw got the evening off to a flying start
Compere Ray Bradshaw got the evening off to a flying start
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It’s only a few simple words, but it can be the death knell for a budding romance or long-standing friendship.

****

“Fancy checking out some open-mic comedy?” can strike fear into even the hardest of hearts but sometimes, just sometimes, you can reap some truly unexpected rewards. And Red Raw, The Stand’s weekly showcase for newbies, is one such occasion

Affable Glaswegian Ray Bradshaw compered and he instantly had the busy venue in stitches, dishing out ritual public humiliation to an unfortunate drama student and engaging a Romanian audience member in an amusingly daft conversation about a magical watch.

First up was self-confessed “word nerd” Becky Pride who, despite some neat wordplay, was hampered by nerves and rushed her delivery.

Alex Donald followed with aimless, unfunny remarks about life working at Edinburgh Zoo. Budding comedians take note – if you have to ask “no, just me?” after each observation, then you probably need some better material.

Tim Avinou showed promise after a hesitant start with a tale about talking to plants and the likeable Che Burnley gave an assured performance that covered scoring points against his partner, beating cancer and the birth of his child, with a clever pay-off linking all three.

Songs about Eurovision and The X Factor by oddball duo Popart then caused hysterics, but for the wrong reasons, while Paul Grassick’s invective about bank loans fell flat, leaving it to a complete beginner to rescue proceedings.

Only taking to the stage in order to win a £5 bet, the unassuming Ritwik Deo successfully skewered colonialist attitudes with style.

Birkenhead mum-of-three Helen Keeler amused with her inability to recognise faces, before a welcome appearance from Festival regular Tom Stade. With his trademark stoner drawl, the Canadian was a hilarious stand-out, riffing about buying glasses, Romeo and Juliet, and his love of socks with sandals.

It was a hard act to follow, something acknowledged by headliner Mark Nelson, but the former Scottish Comedian of the Year managed ably, delivering dry assessments of driving instructors, the Commonwealth Games and T in the Park undesirables, rounding off a surprisingly excellent evening with a flourish.

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