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Bath Comedy Festival - Ralph's Missives

Ralph Oswick writes:

Review - Sun 30th October 2022
Featuring Chris McGlade, Philip Simon, Adam Flood, Adele Cliff and Sam Hawkins

I've donned my independent reviewer hat this week, there being no ace Fleet Street correspondent attending this particular event.

Well, said correspondent, you missed a terrific evening's entertainment, to which I present four and threequarters stars. Why not five? Well, nothing's perfect. No lift for a start, and amongst all the fresh young things in the audience, there were several oldies with walking sticks (myself included) who practically had to crawl up that grand staircase. The venue offers an impressive array of exotic cocktails on a two for one basis. This inevitably leads to long waits at the bar. Many stickless youngsters found it quicker to sprint down said stairs to get served at the main bar. But I can only do one staircase a day. One up, one down.

This little venue is gradually getting noticed by the chuckling classes. It's very cosy, with its glittery curtain and battery candles, cabaret style. Although one of the comedians described it as resembling a funeral parlour and even the set for a second rate Judge Judy, you can see a sterling effort has been made to disguise the hen party ambience that pervades the whole building.

And on that side, the timing of these club nights fits nicely into the calm before the storm. As the last act hurries to finish, the shrieking begins and the DJ leaps into full-volume action. Comedy punters are allowed into the disco bar for free, so you could, should you wish, take in a sophisticated comedy show and then find yourself twerking with the mother of the bride, clutching her giant inflatable penis. Truly a cultural roller coaster!

As for this week's show, I think it was the best of the series so far. An excellent compere in the shape of Sam Hawkins, who hardly looks old enough to be admitted, kept things moving along at a decent lick. Which is surely the job of a compere, not telling us their life stories or recounting lurid sex exploits. Leave that to the comedians! And with four of them crammed into a relatively short 'window', speed and brevity is the motto of the day.

The result, a cracking show, with all the acts presenting compact, pacey and utterly hilarious spots in satisfyingly contrasting styles.

I'm not going into detail about every performer's contribution to this ebullient show. If you want that, you should have been there. And on that subject, why weren't you there? Four acts and an ace compere for twelve quid is surely the comedy bargain of the week.

Highlights for me (so I can earn my critic's fee) were Adam Flood's slick and endearingly barbed manipulation of his auto-tune. (Sashay away Cher, come in Adam!) and the astonishing rant delivered sans microphone and literally in yer face by Chris McGlade, he of the funeral parlour jibe. I presume ranting is the raison d'etre of his act, but to tune it so perfectly to the venue and those present was a masterpiece of observational improvisation. And you get the feeling that he wasn't making it up, he really meant most of it. Including his dismay at driving five and a half hours to find an audience of about 25 people, and all of them southern jessies! Not to mention the five-and-a-half-hour journey back home. (Again, where were you??)

Thank you Nick (aka “the sweaty man from Jurassic Park” according to Mr McGlade!), a terrific evening's entertainment, and home in time for News at Ten (another bag of laughs, not).

Ralph Oswick
My weekly column in Bath Chronicle is the only thing worth reading in the whole paper, according to a straw poll carried out amongst all five of the city's Uber drivers..

Visit Ralph's blog for a selected archive of 'column inches' at www.ralphoswick.co.uk

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