Best of the Fest (Sat 4th Aug)

Ian’s review…

Best of the Fest is usually a slightly earlier and much gentler compilation show than Late’n’Live so we were looking forward to it.  I think I missed it last year (the last time I went it was at Assembly Rooms) but it has always been good in the past.  Last night it was really very bad…

Andrew Maxwell was the Compere and he was OK.  I hate comics that get cheap laughs slagging off the audience, but at least he got laughs.  His return to the stage was all too often a welcome relief.

Ellis James opened the evening and was mildly amusing but no more. Felicity Ward wasn’t bad (she did a good funny walk) but was not inspiring in any way.  Rick Shapiro was just TERRIBLE.  That is the first time I have seen the genteel and mild-mannered Best of the Fest audience boo someone off – he just died on his feet.  A lot of obscenity and absolutely no funny.  Jimeoin has a very gentle style of humour and was fine – but the room was so dead after Rick Shapiro that he was struggling a little.  I’d like to see him under better circumstances. Pyjama Men did some baffling pseudo-improv which was mostly just confusing.  They saved it at the last moment by performing an improvised conversation between Rick Shapiro and his hangover, which was cruel but fairly funny!

Still, this is not the Best of the Fest I remember from previous years – it was a relief when it ended and none of the acts inspired me to go and see their full shows.

In fact, the sound guy managaed to be funnier than most of the people on stage with his deliberate comedy timing on the musical cues – that’s how bad it was.  Not the Best of the Fest in anything other than title.

Ruth’s review…

Best of the Fest? Seriously? This is the *best* they can do? We picked a bad night to go. Rick Shapiro was a particular lowlight. He rambled incoherently, talked about some really weird filthy stuff, and eventually got booed off. Nick Helm was alright, but I had seen his whole act word for word before, perhaps on TV or something. Felicity Ward again was fine, she was fairly amusing. Jimeoin was probably the best one but nothing epic. Pajama Men were just confusing, they did some ‘improv’ which seemed like very random sketches all smooshed together for no reason. This all made the compere Andrew Maxwell look pretty good. Only in retrospect though.

4 thoughts on “Best of the Fest (Sat 4th Aug)

  1. Hope you don’t mind me mentioning that the first act was Elis James, not Nick Helm. I thought the booing-off of Rick Shapiro was a shame. I wasn’t amused by his act but it was a braver artistic choice than those made by more mainstream comics and deserved more respect than a Britain’s Got Talent style crowd shouting off off off. I found the successful bullying of the mob more disturbing than Shapiro’s material…

    • Thanks for the correction on the first act – I guess the list must have changed at the last minute and I have cloth ears!

      I agree Rick Shapiro was brave to stray from the beaten track and that experimental comedy away from the mainstream is a good thing! I have seen plenty of people do it well too. Sadly it didn’t work for me in this case.

      I agree that mob rule is not acceptable, but I think Rick could have handled the mood of the room better too. I’m not saying he should have compromised his artistic integrity, but he must have realised that what he was doing wasn’t working and he could have tried a different part of his material…

  2. Thanks for the reply Ian. The act didn’t work for me either! It was the first time I’ve seen Rick Shapiro so I don’t have much of a frame of reference. However, a couple of articles I’ve read (including one on Chortle) suggest that he’s returned to the stage unwisely soon after a spell in hospital. This may go some way towards explaining his lack of judgment and flexibility on the night we saw him.

  3. Pingback: 33 Shows Later – Ian’s Fringe Roundup… | What the Stevensons saw…

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