Comic Boom in December is the Christmas present that keeps on giving, from the carefully selected line-up of comics coming up in their chosen profession, clearly breaking through, as well as loving this set-up so much they return once celebrity has struck. Right on to the comedy-etiquette savvy audience that savour carefully rendered punchlines rather than stamping all over them with heckles and punter conversation. Like a boutique truffle at the end of a year of a Cadbury’s variety box. All tasty, but with that extra treat that encourages you to savour every moment.
Tonight was a sold out show, as is traditional for December, hosted by the delightful Mark Simmons, throwing a mix of surprise puns and genial audience banter together to warm the show up and keep it rolling along nicely. Ben Robson opened proceedings, with a set that mixed music, timing and a nice awareness of the comedy in his own physicality. Jack Abela diminutive size proved to be his own biggest punchline in a set that perversely made him larger than life with well-crafted punchlines. Closing the first section was Martin Wratten, balancing stillness in delivery with his own imposing size to engage and entertain.
Clifford Norton opened the second section with his engaging and quirky set, and Nick Elleray was poised to close the section with routines that turned on a dime – seeming fresh, polished, personal, a delivery laid back and yet magically fired out laugh-out-loud punchlines at a rate of at least one every ten seconds… Really a set that promises Elleray will soon be a very familiar name and one noting down for future bragging rights. Something that this club night already has an excellent track record for…
Which is how we were now treated to our ‘special guest’, who turned out to be Comic Boom’s former compere Romesh Ranganathan trying out new material for a forthcoming tour in 2019, and returning to the stage after an absence that has seen him all over our smaller screens for the last few years. Touching on family Christmas, holiday negotiations, and hope vs actuality, Ranganathan’s set showed no evidence of any time-gap since he last trod the boards. The belligerent Dad is back.
Headlining the evening was BBC favourite Angela Barnes, who was on brilliant top form. Articulate, bawdy, connecting with the audience that she too once compered, like the leader of a street party heralding us along to lands of Brexit metaphors and the mischief of empowered coughar-dom, this was a blast.
Comic Boom is a true Christmas selection box – but with no duds – just tasty treats you’ll want to remember.
Komedia, 30 December 2018