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REVIEW: Hootfest at Newcastle Stand

Newcastle Stand Comedy Club
Until Sunday 31st December 2017

It is a funny time of the year between 2 major bank holidays. Nothing is on TV and thankfully the Stand, on Newcastle’s High Bridge, is open every night this week with a show featuring 5 talented comics.

It has become something of a NETG tradition: We usually come to the Stand for ‘Black-eye Friday’ but this year the pantos kept us away.  Not for long though as we decided to go to the first of the post-Christmas shows instead.  We had seen each of the comics before so we knew it would be a good night out.

As always, the food smelt very nice as we arrived but we'd already eaten. The simple and popular menu was doing brisk trade as the audience arrived.

We had a good choice of seats as we'd not left our arrival to last minute. As with many comedy clubs, the seating is not reserved and if the night is extremely busy you may end up standing at the bar for the whole gig if you’re the last to arrive – as we did the first time we went to a Newcastle comedy club back in the 90s (Anyone remember the Comedy CafĂ© at the Tyne Theatre?) No such worries tonight as there were enough seats for everyone. We’ve only seen “full and standing” a couple of times here over the years.

Photo: Stephen Oliver
The bar is well stocked. There was a couple of locally brewed real ales on tap which was appreciated. Whilst the bar gets busy at the start of each of the intervals as people rush to the bar, everyone gets served with plenty of time to spare before the show continues. It isn’t like some theatres which insist that you finish your drink before taking your seats again. The seating includes tables and you can take your time enjoying your drink.

Steffen Peddie’ reputation continues to grow. He is the Radio Newcastle DJ, who is also a member of the Geordie Rat Pack.  As an established comic he did a grand job warming up a challenging crowd. Checking what the Wednesday crowd were willing to accept as humour, he tested the boundaries. Probing the crowds funny bone with professional aplomb. He is a man who generates material from the crowd though he isn't deliberately nasty. His tenacity to seek the comedy from an eclectic crowd ensured he left the crowd ready for each act.

Thoroughly warmed up, the first act Lauren Pattison charmed the Stand crowd with some highlights of her celebrated EdFringe Lady Muck set about her travels to London.  The former Kenton School pupil isn't ashamed of her roots and she had the Newcastle audience listening to her every word. Unlike her recent trip to the Alphabetti she didn’t have a room half full of friends and half full of her ex-teachers so she was more relaxed. The full Lady Muck show returns for one final Newcastle date at The Stand Comedy Club on Sunday 28th January 2018. Support comes from Ross Smith. Details can be found here: 

Si Beckwith started the second act with a set about people's attitudes. This included what it is like being insulted as an adult? At times he was slightly surreal. A few quickly worked routines had the audience laughing before Game of Thrones' Ben Crompton arrived. The manic routine blew off any Christmas cobwebs. Rattling through regional stereotypes with a ferocious delivery was like Robin Williams in his prime. The BBC 3 Pramface star injected some energy into the room.

Headliner Carl Hutchinson quickly got the crowd onside when discussing all inclusive holidays from both the tour operators attitude to the need to make the most of it. Gauging by the reaction, most of the crowd have experienced a similar holiday. Likewise they understood how arguments between couples can become something of an Olympic sport and a simple request can turn into a massive memory game. The connection with the audience extended to his well worked ordering a kebab whilst very drunk sketch.

The night consisted of 5 good comics with contrasting styles ranging from the very interactive through to the funny storytelling. Despite a tougher to please than normal Stand crowd there was something for everyone to enjoy and we had a good evening out.

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