Grandmother of two Debra Jane Appelby stole the show last night at The Stand with her mercilessly bad tempered take on why the youth of today are rubbish, why the middle classes are rubbish and how best to go about looting an Argos.
Hailing from Yorkshire and claiming to be 46 (she’s clearly younger), Appelby is so loud without amplification she doesn’t need a mic. She also doesn’t need any help to win over an audience and make them laugh.
There is something of the comprehensive school hockey coach about Appelby, a whiff of not being afraid to get muddy. This brusque straightforwardness in her persona gives the sometimes sarcastic, sometimes surreal social commentary she delivers a certain brutality that makes it all the more funny.
Headliner Tanyalee Davis is a dwarf, but says it’s OK to call her a midget. The ferociously horny Canadian’s act consists mainly of jokes about being short – of which there are apparently a limitless number – and trying to seduce men in the front row of the audience. This combination generally works out rather well for her.
She walks an uncomfortable line between self-depreciating and freak-show humour, which will make you writhe with laughter or embarrassment depending on how sensitive you are. Davis would seem like less of a novelty act if she strayed into topics other than being a dwarf, even if just for a small part of her set.
Sally-Anne Hayward’s boyfriend snores. The audience also snored last night, but only for about a fifth of her act.
Her falsely sweet persona is hilarious, but not all of the material was worthy of her excellent delivery.
Experienced compere JoJo Sutherland has a wonderful line in friendly audience interaction.
Her easy banter was a great mood-setter for the evening, and unusually for a stand-up comedian, the front row actually appeared to enjoy talking to her!