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Review: Kai Humphries and The Noise Next Door - Concordia Leisure Centre, Cramlington. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jamie Stubbs   
06 07 2010
ImageIn a change to the regular format of the Punch Drunk Comedy night, the room in Concordia Leisure Centre played host to two Edinburgh preview specials, showcasing a double bill of solo shows from local talent and club organiser Kai Humphries, and the improv-comedy group, The Noise Next Door. Humphries, finalist in 2009's So You Think You're Funny? competition, previewed his new show, Evolution, whilst troupe The Noise Next Door rehearsed Chaos Control.

As a long time patron and first time reviewer of the Cramlington comedy club, I've regularly witnessed the impressive compere and bantering skills of Kai Humphries as his stock has risen. He now regularly plays large club chains such as the Comedy Store, Highlight and The Stand but has never stopped bringing comedy to the people of Cramlington for a fiver a pop. Out of the newer acts over the last year or so on the Newcastle comedy circuit, Humphries would be my tip to hitting the big time and may just break through with this solo show when he takes it to Edinburgh this summer.

Anyone who is a fan of Humphries' stand-up, which covers most punters from the North East scene, will recognise his best material in his debut Edinburgh show. His classic routines on his girlfriend, social faux pas, embarrassing erection stories and the last sheet of toilet roll are centred around the shows' Evolution theme. Kai's working out of the newer Evolution based stoner theories allows him to test his arching narrative in this preview while still keeping the Blazing Squad suitably entertained.

As regular host and compere for these gigs, Kai knows the majority of his front row and made full use of this to break the ice with the audience by making inappropriate comments towards ‘local bike' Marie, shouting, ‘Get down, pubwatch!' to the Blazing Squad when a police car went past - or simply by mentioning Davey the barber. But, as he points out, he can't go to Edinburgh with stories of the Cochrane twins in Blyth or how everyone in Ashington pronounces the word ‘van.'

Second on the bill was improv group, The Noise Next Door, with their new solo show Chaos Control. The show revolves around a secret agency and their attempts to find the evil Dr. Chaos through various methods and obstacles suggested by the audience. As a full show, the method worked really well and was packed with completely improvised songs and spontaneous dialogue instantly performed on whatever the audience threw out. When the audience, filled with students, managed to conjure up topics other than wanking or having a hard-on, the team were unbelievable in their creativity; a particular highlight of mine was the improvised reggae about easy going girls. In the past I have witnessed improvised comedy at its best and worst, but I can honestly say this show ranks as one of the best. I can quite imagine myself revisiting the secret agency when I'm in Edinburgh this August.

ImageThe finale of the gig required a volunteer, and what Cramlington gig is complete without Davey making at least one appearance in the night? The Noise Next Door brought Davey on stage as the sixth member of the agency and soon had him performing daft and ridiculous sketches through audience suggestions; the highlight of which involved Davey exclaiming ‘bollocks!' proudly in a Las Vegas strip joint sketch, leading one of the group to ask, ‘What kind of strip clubs do you go to?'

You may be wondering whether they ever find Dr. Choas, and who his true identity really is, but I'm afraid you'll just have to go to The Fringe this August to find out!

If you're looking to see some Punch Drunk Comedy, tickets for all shows are priced at just £5. Also, if you're a fan of Kai Humphries, he is performing a few more Edinburgh Previews of his Evolution show in the North East this month including The Laughing Penguin on Wednesday July 21st (to be reviewed by Floatation Suite) and the Live Theatre in Newcastle on Wednesday 28th July.

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