Event: Theatre Royal Comedy Night
Venue: York City Art Gallery
Rating: * * * *
“Has anyone ever been anywhere where alcohol is illegal?” enquired Nick Doody, “Yes” was the shouted reply from the stalls, “Where?” asked Doody, “Prison” was the man’s short, sharp reply, the cue for awkward laughter from the whole theatre.
This superbly punctual audience intervention was merely the tip of the iceberg of a great evening’s comedy. Markus Berkman, whose skilled timing and innovation had the venue in stitches, compered. He set the evening off on the right foot with some edgy comedy encouraging 13-year-olds to shout out their favourite swear words, had a tongue-in-cheek pop at Christianity and commented to an audience member that he was looking at him like “I’d just rode into your bar mitzvah on a pig”.
The evening’s second act was Robin Ince, whose writing credits include Have I Got News For You. His gags never quite got the audience going, and sadly his time on stage was something of a slog which was a shame given the crescendo worked up by Berkman.
Thankfully things soon picked up. Berkman returned to the stage with some more superb one-liners, and was followed by the former Red Dwarf star Norman Lovett, who worked the audience superbly. His dry humour relied heavily on his age and proved the adage that it is the delivery rather than the content that comedy heavily relies upon.
After he exited, it was left to Berkman to encourage the audience one last time, before Doody came on and gave the night the finish it warranted. His jokes ranged from a pop at ski resorts, to a controversial, yet ultimately inoffensive, sideswipe at radical Islam to the British obsession with the drinking culture, all of which left the audience laughing into the night, and no doubt repeating his more surprising material to their friends in the morning.
All in all, a superb evening of comedy which bodes well for the forthcoming series of comedy events the Theatre Royal will be hosting, the second of which takes place just after our Easter break in April.