Squawkers Final

It was an incredible line-up at Komedia as the culmination of weeks’ of heats came together to deliver up the grand final of the Brighton Comedy Festival’s new act competition. MC’d by Romesh Ranganathan, always a wry joy on his home turf of East Sussex, the evening included such diverse and quality acts as Fraser Geesin, who strode powerfully onto the stage from the depths of the audience to wrong foot yet entertain us from the first, to David Jordan’s hugely crowd-pleasing musical comedy, neatly delivering up acerbic couplets and self-depricating humour. Alisdair Beckett-King made a huge impression early on, demonstrating with such self-composed and well tuned comedy why it is that he has dominated a lot of this year’s comedy competition finals.

Elanor Curry had opened the proceedings with an endearing story of fancy dress and teen geek perspective, marking her as someone to keep an eye on in the future, and Archie Maddox’s material was engaging as he sketched tales of his mixed race experiences Stateside. Thomas Ward was one of a number of comics that broke the conventional comic mould this evening, conjuring up a set reminiscent of Terry Alderton minus the hysteria edge but incorporating his own 1,000 yard stare. Joe Foster’s contained and intimate delivery served up a tight high quality set, and Dan Fardell’s disarmingly sweet underdog perspective grasping at the sunny side of all the muck life has thrown at him, both invited us in to very unique and funny worlds.

In runner up position, a place not included in last year’s competition, was Mark Silcox. Utterly straight-faced yet innately hilarious, this older comic utilised his funny bones with a delicate touch that brought huge laughs to most mundane but surprising of topics.

Winner of the perspex trophy and 2013’s Squawkers final champion was Adam Race – news which he would deservedly no doubt punctuate with one of his own huge air ticks. Packed with energy, filling the stage with a physical commitment to each gag, and demonstrating a practised stagecraft as he deftly fielded distractions, Race was a force that could smack you across the chops with a punchline and then jab you in the ribs with his persona.

It was so good to see such a diversity of quality comedy emerging on the circuit, all so enjoyable and not one cut from the same cookie cutter as another.

Komedia, 16 October 2013
Rating: ★★★★½
Victoria Nangle

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