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Review: Carl Donnelly and Tiffany Stevenson - Blake’s Coffee House, Newcastle. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Andrew Dipper   
23 07 2010
ImageWith the Edinburgh Fringe Festival just three weeks away, the clock is ticking for acts to perfect their routines in time for the largest arts festival in the world. In the final show of the Hilarity Bites comedy season in Newcastle, Tiffany Stevenson and multi-award winning comic Carl Donnelly performed at Blake's Coffee House to a small audience in preparation for their upcoming shows, Dictators and How Do You Solve A Problem Like Carl Donnelly?

First up was Tiffany Stevenson, who arrived on to the make-shift stage and chatted to the audience about the premise of her Edinburgh show, Dictators. Centred on her personal rebellion against her mother and told alongside a series of photos pinned to the Blake's wall, Stevenson spent an hour raising some valid points about totalitarianism and well worked witticisms; however her material seemed to be lacking in any kind of punch line. Her routines were poignant and well presented, but, whilst I agree with her wholeheartedly on the role of the national media and her condemnation of China, I just didn't find her funny. Her material would perhaps work better in a lecture theatre than a comedy venue, and the Blake's crowd appeared to recognise that by maintaining silence throughout.

However, following the half hour break, the night picked up as 2009 Edinburgh Comedy Award Nominee Carl Donnelly previewed his new show, entitled How Do You Solve A Problem Like Carl Donnelly? Similar to Chris Ramsey's show Aggro-phobic in tone, How Do You Solve A Problem Like Carl Donnelly? centres on the silly and stupid antics of the comedian, as he effortlessly worked his way through anecdotes about his social faux pas and his journey to maturity and marriage.

Throughout the hour-long set, the Donnelly managed to make fun out of the mundane and his energetic and interactive style lifted the atmosphere in Blake's. He was worth the £8 entry fee alone, and it was an absolute pleasure to watch Donnelly on stage; he is a natural entertainer and great fun. And, despite The Fringe being a few weeks away, Donnelly's show is one of the best I've seen so far from the preview season. Without doubt it'll be a hit in Edinburgh, so if you're heading to The Fringe in August be sure to catch him. You won't regret it.

Comedy at Blake's Coffee House returns in September. For more information on future dates you can either visit the Hilarity Bites website, or keep checking here.


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