Category Archives: Comedy

GMTG presents: The Comedian @ The Guild of Students

the comedian

You’d be forgiven for thinking that GMTG’s most recent musical, The Comedian, was a light-hearted comedy. It was definitely funny but didn’t deliver the happy ending the audience were expecting.

The play tells the story of Tim Adams, played by Matt McConnell: an awkward stand-up comedian who we meet on the edge of his ‘big break’ and follow as he struggles to deal with the pressure of his new-found fame. McConnell is a likeable lead who wins us over with his hilarious childhood anecdotes as he delivers a stand-up routine directly to the audience. Although a somewhat nervous singer at the start, this made him incredibly endearing and was shattered by his later solos which were angry, anguished and powerful.

Tim’s big break comes when he is offered the chance to host a panel show, the wittily titled ‘News Flush’. These episodes were the highlight of the musical for me as the audience are invited to play the role of a live audience, cheering and clapping along with the sparring between the panel show’s guests. However Tim’s inability to get a word in edge-ways results in him being panned by critics and he resorts to cocaine to boost his confidence. Whilst his drug-fuelled comeback wins the respect of the panel and the critics, he loses the love of his doting fiancée Hannah- played by Megan Probert.

Probert is a talented singer and the heart-breaking solo in which she realises she no longer recognises the man she loves in Tim gave me shivers. However the stand out role for me was that of Tim’s manager, ‘best friend’ and eventual drug dealer Ollie, played brilliantly by Ciaran Cresswell. Smarmy, suave and self-assured, I hated him and admired him in equal measure. Tim is as under Ollie’s influence as the audience are and, with Ollie’s encouragement, continues taking cocaine.

What follows are Tim’s more and more tragic attempts to win Hannah back whilst he spirals into addiction, leading to an unexpectedly disturbing ending. His quest for critical success causes him to lose everything and left me thinking about the way we constantly strive for more without realising what we have already.

What amazed me most of all, however, was that the script and music was written completely from scratch by Leo West and Josh Sood. The play was well written and the songs in particular were so catchy that you couldn’t believe they were original. At times the play even seemed to mock the emotional aspect of musicals, such as when Tim wanders on stage for a moving solo and is so upset that after several attempts to start singing he gives up and leaves. Although the anti-climax made the audience laugh, it was also very touching.

Overall it was this ability to intertwine comedy and tragedy, often in a single line or song, which I found most impressive about this musical- I never knew whether to laugh or cry.

By Ellicia Pendle

@elliciapendle

Advertisements

The Best in Live Stand-up Comedy @ The Glee Club

inside glee

One of Birmingham’s best loved comedy nights is definitely at the Glee Club; situated in the Arcadian only a few minutes’ walk from New Street station and so is easily accessible by train. The Arcadian itself, however, is nothing like New Street or the Bull Ring. As a London lover, the Arcadian, though small, reminded me of a cross between Soho and Camden; with its quirky boutique stores, individually owned restaurants and interesting bars. In stark opposition to the hyper-commercialised nature of the majority of our city, the Arcadian is something just that bit different. Walking down the street toward the Glee Club you feel the atmosphere, and when I went I was kicking myself that I had not left enough time to eat at one of the restaurants as they all looked and smelled amazing. The Arcadian also boasts night clubs, and so is a different night out for those who are bored of Risa and Gatecrasher.

The Glee Club itself is a great place for an evening out that doesn’t revolve around the same clubs on Broad Street. We arrived early in order to soak up the feel of the place and waited in the lobby. Although it looks small, you feel as if you are in a secret little bar tucked away from everyone. The dim red lighting, comfortable armchairs and relaxing music makes everybody feel at ease. There was a bar here, but we decided to wait to get a drink in the room where we would be viewing the main performance. Once doors opened, we were quickly and efficiently taken to our seats and shown a menu. The room boasted a menu of averagely priced drinks, (around three pounds for a pint and four for a glass of wine) but it was the food on offer that really impressed me. There was a large selection and all at very competitive prices. The service of the waiters and waitresses is one of the quickest I have ever seen.

Around an hour after we arrived, the compere came on stage; a Mr Mikey D. I had not previously heard of any of the comedians performing on the night, but all were hilarious and had us in stitches. Mikey D was an Australian man who used accents hilariously and interacted with the audience, but only those who wanted to be interacted with (he didn’t pick on people). After a twenty minute set, he introduced the next comic, Ivo Graham. In his mid-twenties and with a posh London accent he reminded us both of Jack Whitehall, but was hysterical in his own right. Following this there was an interval, and then the other two comics, Carey Mark and Josh Howie performed. Every single comedian on the night was of a high quality, and even if they do not yet have high fame levels, I’m sure one day they will. The glee club also books incredibly famous comedians; Russell Howard has performed there and the legend that is Lee Evans is set to perform later this month.

Going to the glee club for the stand-up comedy night was an excellent evening out. If you want to eat, drink and laugh at the same time, I would definitely recommend it!

Josie Boston

Birmingham Footnotes @ 6/8 Kafé

birmingham-footnotesThe Birmingham Footnotes show at the 6/8 Kafé was an entertaining night out. The coffee specialist café seemed an appropriately intimate venue for a very good turnout for this variety comedy show. Lit by candle lights and introduced by an engaging compere, the tone was set for some light-hearted slapstick, wit and humour. There were numerous short stand-up acts which kept the pace of the three-part evening fast and engaging, broken up by a couple of short sketches.

It began with a trio of comedians introduced by the first of the night’s excellent comperes, Jacob Lovick, with his tales of failures in flirtation. The audience were engaged with a show that fulfilled its promise of ‘excitement’ and ‘intrigue’. We learnt to compare the classification of weed as a ‘drug’ to the notion of Pluto as a planet through Ludo Cinelli’s energetic skit and were amused by the ‘Wheatbisk’ stand-up performance by Daniel Moroney. The acts utilised a good range of comedic devices, as pointed out overtly on one occasion.

Dorian Wainwright stepped up to do the compering in the second act and after a short break the fluidity of the evening returned with a timely couple of sketches from ‘Everything but the Gravy’. In the final section the cleverly constructed storyline of Tyler Harding’s rant about the London Underground seemed a simple universal tale that captivated the audience’s imagination and provoked laughter. Following that, we were treated to the wonders of giving blood and the perceived consequences of failing to do so.

kaffe-birminghamMy only criticism during the evening is some of the jokes were not understood by the wider audience beyond the University society; however the format of the evening meant there was a comedy style for every audience member. The humour was light-hearted and self-mocking which made for an uplifting and entertaining evening.

By Adam Spicer
@adam_spicer