Skip to main content

Review of Ed Byrne: Outside, Looking In at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

Thursday I found myself at my first stand-up in the Derngate theatre as an honoured guest of Mr Chris Sparkle due to Mrs Chris Sparkle doing big business elsewhere. The stand-up in question was Mr Ed Byrne, a comic I was vaguely familiar with via panel shows including Have I Got News For You. However appearances on these shows very rarely give you the gist of what they get up in their live stand-ups. So there was little knowledge of what to expect.

Unshackled from that desk that is the staple of the TV panel show, Mr Byrne became a slightly stalking and ganguly presence on stage. Trailing the large stage microphone cable in tow and occasionally sipping from a generous glass of "juice", he proves an interesting vision.

His material is magical and detailed in its exploration of subjects. After being insulting to bankers (via an anecdote about performing at a corporate gig) and rather strangely Audi drivers (we all agreed during the interval that surely he meant BMW owners), the first half moved to dating. This was explored in great detail but never tiresomely as Mr Byrne easily kept the jokes flowing. He was helped wonderfully on his path by two excellent contributions of dating woes from the audience. I had read in a couple of reviews previously that he had occasionally failed to engineer any life from the audience. However Terry the "marine biologist" successfully engineered a joke or two of his own and Rosaline the librarian gave Mr Byrne the perfect chance to show his quick wittiness with ironically one of the best moments of the night.

The second half drifted through subjects including children in Costa and diarrhoea issues. The first from where I was sitting came under a slightly split line of acceptability especially from some of the examples given. The diarrhoea part though was something else, unpleasant, awkward and giving quite horrific images (including soup ones that may never go away), however also outrageously funny.

Mr Byrne is a rather excellent comic and while he lets quite a few F's go during the show and a single C, he never feels unnecessarily offensive in his language. This is a personal problem that I have when seeing many modern comics on television. Bad language is lazy and rarely part of the joke, so it should be used in moderation. Mr Byrne for me moderates it just about right and makes the whole evening better for it.

So for a first encounter with a stand-up in the Derngate it was a big win. The evening ended on what truly felt like a warm and real story (you can never trust a comic in his truthfulness) and made us happy to leave with fully exercised laughing muscles and a pleasant uplifting feel in the heart.

««««½

Performance reviewed: Thursday 18th February, 2016 at the Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton.

Ed Byrne: Outside, Looking In was performed at the Royal & Derngate (Derngate) on Thursday 18th February, 2016 only but is on a tour until June. Website for details: http://edbyrne.com/

For further details about the Royal & Derngate visit their website at http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/

Popular posts from this blog

Review of DNA by University of Northampton BA Actors at Jacksons Lane Theatre, Highgate, London

The final year performances of BA Actors this year upped sticks and headed away from their Northampton Royal territory and gathered to show their skills in London.

The first of the three shows being performed was Dennis Kelly's DNA, a play which I saw performed on the Royal stage itself four years ago. I enjoyed it for its dark mysterious nature and was looking forward to seeing a different interpretation of the show. It tells the tale of a group of youngsters who do something really bad, and proceed to attempt to cover it up, resulting in the real bad, well, getting more bad. It's dark yes, but also, very funny at times.

It opens with a looming movement piece of theatre, which I always love and this was no different for me, brooding and sinister. It's quite a long opening, which perhaps, in the end, becomes too long, but it's a fabulous piece of theatre for me. It set's the scene very well for Kelly's dark piece to unfold and in the hands of these, about to gr…

Flash Festival 2018: Persecuted by United-Force Theatre Company at Hazelrigg House, Northampton

It's perhaps a shame that the major talking point after United-Force Theatre Company's production of Persecuted is its final scene, and more so over the sheer realism of it, rather than anything directly related to the acting and writing of it. The shame is that it overshadows what is quite a brilliant piece of theatre in its own right, well constructed and superbly acted by the trio in the group, Alexander Forrester-Coles, Chris Tyler and Radostin Radev.

The date is 11th May 2005 and the Iraq War is no longer having the initial success that it had after destroying Sadam Hussain's regime. In a camp in Basra, Mohammed bin Osama bin Laden (Radostin Radev) is captured and under interrogation by commander James Farrell (Alexander Forrester-Coles), the good cop of the story, and Dan (Chris Tyler),  a Lieutenant, very much of the bad cop variety.

It's an ugly, but also a very vivid tale, claustrophobic and always intimidating. When the actors are not churning through the int…

Flash Festival 2018: Drained by Open Eye Theatre at Hazelrigg House, Northampton

Back in 2015 when I was attending my second year at the Flash Festival, I had the pleasure of seeing a show called I Forget What I’ve Forgotten, a solo show performed by the superb Catherine Garlick, it was very much based on personal experiences, and it was one of very few Flash shows that I have made time to see a second time. That second time, it became the only Flash that I stood at the end of (to date), and it was the first that emotionally hit me hard.

While I didn't stand at the end of Open Eye Theatre's Drained (I was incredibly close), it left me a spent force of emotion. My fellow blogger and companion of the week The Real Chrisparkle, witnessed my tears, and I was actually perhaps as emotional as I have ever been at the end of any theatre show.

Drained was a slow burner of emotion, which I guess just gently took hold like no other before. Our three characters, Laura (Bryony Ditchburn) and her two brothers, Will (Robert Charles) and Jamie (Jake Wyatt) gather at the wa…