Waffle cake creator and lover of all things purple

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West Sussex, United Kingdom

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Tiernan Douieb – Work in progress Edinburgh preview show

Tiernan's Fringe 2010 show “Littlest things” focuses on a few moments in his life where individuals surpass all assumed expectations, by expressing an act of unexpected kindness.
This show delivers a refreshing breeze of positivity into a form of entertainment which is so often used as a soap box to complain about life.

Furnished with a large cheeky grin, Tiernan took himself to the front of the curtain cladded little room at the Albion Hotel which has currently been commandeered by the £5 Fringe Team.

He began his fledgling show by explaining that it was still a work in progress and although the structure is sound, some of the links may be a bit flakey.
It soon became clear that he had been overly cautious with his warning, as Tiernan’s confidently solid performance was warmly recognized by an array of giggling attendees. Tiernan’s clean and almost childlike style of situation humour managed to tease a chuckle out of every age group present.

The backbone of the hour focused on delightfully sweet, anecdotal natter about 4 main influences. These main stories were then skillfully punctuated with sneaky page-break interludes. Snippets of amusing and sometimes silly happenings would build up to a crescendo of cleverly constructed puns.
The show was well paced and engaging which kept the audience completely on side. Tiernan is a well seasoned MC and makes audience interaction appear completely effortless as he quick fires a torrent of amusing retorts to the crowd led content section of the show.

There was the odd moment where the crib sheet was needed and the occasional link which would benefit from a touch of fine tuning but given this was the first preview after a rewrite, Tiernan made for a very enjoyable hour of comedic entertainment.

For more information about up coming shows, please visit his website: www.tiernandouieb.co.uk

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Review: Fat Tuesday- headliner Tim key

I have been thinking about how to write this review. I have read so many verbose, textually stunning pieces of literary art, depicting an evening as if it were the last sunset they would ever see. Beautiful as they are, I've decided I would just opt for telling you what it was like.

"Fat Tuesday", not to be confused with any of those other thyroid deficient week days, is a comedy night founded, run and usually MC’ed by one of lonely planet's London landmarks, Tiernan Douieb.

The night has been running for over 5 years and draws in both new and well established acts, not to mention a packed audience. Starwars day was no exception. All tickets had sold out and there was even a point during the evening, when a war nearly broke out over seating arrangements. The war was eventually extinguished by a lovely gentleman who graciously gave up his seat so a couple could sit together. Living fricking legend, that fella.

Greeted on this occasion by a delightful mini cup cake, we took our seats amongst a plethora of mismatched furniture, neatly placed in tightly packed rows.

Tiernan opened the evening with the classic “who are you? What do you do?" warm up. He struck gold with a man on the third row who turned out to be a scientist called Dr Steinenburgh (Ok, I forgot his actual name but it sounded like an evil genius) who has an army of robots who cut people up, and which occasionally play the drums.

After we had been well and truly warmed with laughter, and the body heat of about 50+ people crammed into a rather intimate venue, the first act of the evening, James Acaster came to the stage.

Instantly proving his keen eye and ability to improvise, James started his act by reuniting two friends, stuck at the entrance of the gig, with a gentleman sat at the front. James had noticed that this man had recognized his friends during the warm up and thusly started to point and text them. Having selected his “mark”, James continued probe the man for information which rolled seamlessly into his personable routine.

The audience immediately warmed to James, as he shared his stories of social awkwardness and great days out. He kept us enthralled as he crept around the stage, physically reenacting some of the more cringe worthy moments of his past. James has a very real and genuine outlook to his performance which makes him exceedingly likable.

The second of the night came the most notorious “sorry, madam. This one’s broken. Can you hear that?” man from the Crunchy Nut adverts, Matt Green. I spent the whole evening (in between enjoying myself immensely) trying to work out where I had seen him before. I was so relieved when I finally it worked out, which was instantaneously followed by sense of deep sadness. My life has seemingly shifted to agonizingly trying to place people I have seen in breakfast cereal advertisements.

Matt is a dry witted comedian who confidently delivered his preview show with an incredibly calm persona. His polished performance encapsulated the audience as he described his frustration at the “volcanic ash advisory centre”in Kent, the embarrassing turmoil which can occur following a bed full of rose petals and he concluded his set by sharing a ridiculously funny tale involving a blissfully unaware gentleman, a bin and a rat. He is previewing his Fringe show in Brighton this month.

Tiernan punctuated the acts by producing his Real or Made Up Band Name quiz,featuring such awesome names as:
“Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs”
“Oooh Danone”

I really want there to be a band called Oooh Danone. I think they would be actively good. (Sorry :-p)

The last act of the first half was Rude Tube front man Alex Zane. I had been chatting with him for a little while prior to the show, thinking “he looks very much like that dude off that You Tube clip show”, but decided I was mistaken because firstly, he was talking to me, and secondly he seemed unusually nervous.

His nerves followed him on to the stage, but despite his occasionally erratic delivery, he created some lovely material. His set focused heavily on movies, which meant a couple of jokes were inaccessible to people unfamiliar with a particular movie reference, but there were many notable moments of awesome such as the amazing imagery of mind wrestling food stuffs with drawn on faces. It is clear that Alex’s show is still a work in progress, but once it has been finely honed, it will be an interesting show to see at the fringe this year.

After a wee break, in both the colloquial and literal sense of the word, the second part of the night was due to start.

Tiernan opened the second half by previewing some of his new material. Now, as Tiernan had been MCing all evening, my memory has managed to muddle itself up (the fact I had had 2 pints by this stage is merely coincidental), but I will attempt to review it just the same.

Tiernan, predominately known for his delightful use of word play and endearingly unique view on the world, has once again kept his material topical by focusing on current political events. Citing his amusing take on the current debate, he made the audience chuckle by comparing the last week’s political debate with family feud. Although the content of his material may be slightly “hazey” to me, the audience definitely enjoyed his ramblings. It will be interesting to see how his topical material evolves passed May 6th. Tiernan is previewing his solo show at Brighton Fringe on the 6th / 7th May.

Nat Luurtsema was the only female act of the evening. I worry when a female comedian takes to the stage as so many of them focus their material solely on the female stereotypical themes. It upsets me to see comedians talk of nothing cake, weight, periods and boyfriends. Luckily Nat hadn’t fallen completely into this trap. She made reference to make up, breasts and feminism, but these topics were usually interspersed with a dark punch line. The act was slightly slow in pace, with a couple of pauses which seemed to linger slightly, but she definitely won the hearts of those who attended.

The second to last act of the night was a magical number by Peter Firman.
Peter took to the spot light with carrier bag and a smile. As a sworn in member of the magic circle, he has vowed to keep the methods of his art a secret. For this reason, his disappearing party ring trick still tortures me with untold mystery. Peter's pun filled one liners recieved a fondly meant, and most likely expected, groan from the audience which lead into his final trick involving his carrier bag of cooking ingredients.

The finale of this star studded evening featured the renowned poet Tim key. This literary genius has made televisual appearances, reading his disjointed nuggets of creative gold, on Charlie Brooker's BBC4 show "screenwipe", as well as co hosting "We need answers" with Mark Watson and Alex Horne.
After what can only be loosely described as "smartening up" by including a tie about his person, Tim commenced his act by reading out his poetic masterpieces and surreptitiously punctuating the poem with underlying narrative. He also went on to give the audience advice on becoming a successful poet and told us tales of personal experience.
Tim's dead pan and broody delivery of his poet character, seemed to melt the audience who were hanging on his every action, including a teeth clenching few moments where his actions involved performing a difficult party trick.

All in all, Fat Tuesday has been the best comedy show I've experienced in London so far this year. I have never had the pleasure seeing of so many brilliant acts for such a steal of a ticket price. Do check out the Fat Tuesday line up here = http://www.tiernandouieb.co.uk/fattuesday-listings.htm
and make sure you order your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment