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Review: Gary Delaney and Sarah Millican - The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Andrew Dipper   
02 07 2010
ImageGiven the current economic climate, it's evident that big cuts need to be made. PM David Cameron understands that, and I understand that, too. However, as I discovered last night, when comedy is concerned, cuts need not be made in quality. Priced at just £5, The Laughing Penguin host one of the most affordable comedy nights in the region, and yesterday's gig, headlined by Gary Delaney and South Shields-born Sarah Millican, provided superb value for money.  


Despite getting lost in the middle of Newcastle, I managed to arrive at The Bridge Hotel with just enough time to take my seat in the intimate function room (and witness Tommy the sound technician warming up the audience with a rendition of Sinatra's New York, New York) as resident MC Tony Jameson took to the stage. During his brief five minute slot, the accomplished compere warmed up the audience by chatting to the front row and explained the comedy club's rules before introducing first act Gary Delaney to the audience to begin the third of The Laughing Penguin's Edinburgh preview shows.

By Delaney's own admittance, his show, Purist, contains ‘no narrative, themes, or self-discovery' but plenty of one-liners. And during his one hour long set that is what the audience experienced, with the comic barely allowing himself - or the crowd - a breath between jokes. Nevertheless, despite Delaney's self-confessed one dimensional style, he managed to keep his set fresh with fantastic delivery, clever audience interaction and an abundance of subject matter, from shocking one-liners about Disney Land to remarks about George Orwell's novella, Animal Farm. Akin to the late Tommy Cooper in approach, Delaney is possibly the wittiest performer on the comedy circuit right now.

ImageWhilst Delaney's set was worthy of the £5 entry fee alone, it was evident that the sold-out audience came primarily to see Sarah Millican preview her new show, Chatterbox. Following the break, MC Jameson returned to welcome the local comic to the stage. Millican was obviously pleased to be back in the North East after spending six weeks performing in Australia, and this was reflected in an upbeat, if slightly unorganised, set. Though the experienced comedian appealed more to her female audience with clever but inherently feminine anecdotes, she still maintained the attention of the male crowd by highlighting everything men do wrong. And then telling them how they can do better.

As the evening drew to a close, it was evident that the 100+ audience experienced a glimpse of two of the stand-out shows for this year's Fringe Festival. Gary Delaney's Purist was simply brilliant, and is a show I'll be sure to revisit during my time in Edinburgh in August; and, whilst Chatterbox is clearly a work in progress, Sarah Millican still managed to raise the loudest applause from the Newcastle audience by positioning her Northern roots at the heart of her material. Value for money indeed.

If you're looking to see some comedy at The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle, the next event is Wednesday 21st June, where Tom Tolson Andy Walton, Nick Cranston and Kai Humphries will be performing their free Edinburgh preview show. Tickets for all Laughing Penguin events are available from:


http://www.thelaughingpenguin.co.uk/
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