Monkey Barrel Comedy (Feb 2016)

The Beehive Inn


Friday 18th February


Jamie Dalgleish:four-stars  Pablo Serski:five-stars  Jonny Thomson:four-stars Keir McAllister:four-stars


This comedy show went down in a popular pub in one of Edinburgh’s most well known streets and the venue itself was small so probably not hard to make it appear busy (I estimated capacity to be about 60-70 seats) but still, as embarrassingly-empty-yet-tiny rooms have proven time and again at the Fringe Festival, it takes a lot more than a small footprint to create a crowd these guys must be doing something right because the place was heaving. No doubt the presence of 2 testosterone-saturated stag parties and 1 gaggle of semi-soused hens added to both the numbers and the atmosphere, all 3 groups becoming the collective butt of many a biting joke throughout the night.

One gets the impression that this comedy night will always deliver the goods and at a fairly reasonable price for a Friday night- yes, there are many cheaper or even free nights out in Edinburgh but they are a bit ‘hit and miss’, at best, whereas the quality here was consistent and the performers obviously racked up a fair few comedy miles on the clock.  Overall, the show was well organised, with loud music pumping out of large speakers helping build the excitement of the crowd, and the room was packed well before the start time. In total, the night lasted around 2.5 hours and was very well spaced out, with 2 decent breaks in between the 3 sets allowing for ingestion or excretion of liquids, according to individual needs- there’s even time for both, if you’re quick…nothing more annoying than racing out and back again, only to find that the show has already started and you get picked on for the rest of the night by a scathing comedian looking for an easy target.

rick-molland-2012-julyThe compere, Rick Molland, was animated, sharp as a razor and flashed his sardonic smile often, which made him likeable (when he was looking at anyone else) but somewhat frightening (when his beady eye was leveled near a defenceless review writer). His style was tough, fast and decidedly un-PC so if you like your comedy sugar-coated then please stay home with a cup of cocoa and a slanket because he pulls no punches and will push the boundaries of what is considered savoury, as one poor, unsuspecting father-of-the-bride found out…I’m still cringing at the memory of it! His comic timing was excellent, as was his ability to constantly engage the audience and keep the pace trotting along nicely but this comes as no surprise since he is one of the most in demand comperes around, with extensive experience working at The stand, Breakneck Comedy and The Beehive. He has also gigged at T in The Park, Wickerman and Rockness festivals, and was runner up in the 2010 Scottish Comedy of the Year (despite being a Scouser) and makes his own films, to boot.
Jamie Dalgleish
 Laughs: four-stars  Materialthree-stars  Deliveryfive-stars
MUMBLE PIC- Jamie Dalgleish.jpg
 Act 1 was Jamie Dalgleish, a wee Weegie with a winning smile and winning record- he was Scottish Comedian of the Year 2011. His comedy had a heavy slant on Glasgow life and Scottish stereotypes- think alcoholism and a staple diet of frozen breed- and he touched heavily on the class cliches that are so often completely true. His chat was cheeky, sweet and raised giggles throughout but did not lead to side-splitting laughter- my lasting impression is of someone who has heaps of potential and the ability to win friends with no effort but who needs to be braver and, frankly, meaner- I imagined, expected and wanted him to soften us all up to then deliver a killer line that would make the audience scream with glee and horror but it never came and there is definitely space for it. Come on, Jamie, find your dark side, it’s in there somewhere!
Pablo Serski
 Laughs: five-stars  Materialfour-stars  Deliveryfive-stars 
MUMBLE PIC- Pable Serski 2.jpg
Next up was Pablo Serski, a relatively new name on the scene but one who has garnered much attention.  His name conjured images of a huge Russian wrestler and, although a foot smaller than the image I’d created, he was pretty fierce nonetheless.  His jokes were fast, fluid and some really rather brutal (Frankie Boyle styley).  His material made all sorts of references to recent current events, from ice-creams and ISIS, to life in Glasgow, crude references to the reality of married life, working for Scottish Gas and a Lost Prophets joke that was…just…er…let’s move on now, shall we!  He is a confident performer that oozes intelligence but be prepared for a few sharp intakes of breath at his material- then again, what’s comedy for if not to make us laugh and then be shocked that we did?!
Jonny Thomson
 Laughs:  four-stars  Materialfour-stars  Deliveryfive-stars 
MUMBLE PIC- Johnny Thomson.jpgJonny Thomson was third and very different to the others, a loveable, lanky bloke who has one of those faces that just makes you laugh instantly (and I mean that in the nicest possible way).  His expressive features had us in stitches more than once and, after the audience members being mercilessly targeted by the compere already, it was a sigh of relief to sit back and enjoy his calm yet entertaining observations about the little things in life.  He has a real knack for pointing out the obvious and making it seem very, very funny, with a particular focus on awkward and ridiculous social situations that we’ve all experienced (you know the ones- someone sits right next to you on the bus despite there being 50 other empty seats…cringeworthy but oh so real!).  His style is quirky and unique, and his gentle humour reminds us that jokes don’t always have to go for the jugular in order to be funny.  If the show were a meal he would be the soothing sorbet between the heavy courses.
Keir McAllister
 Laughs:  four-stars  Materialfour-stars  Deliveryfive-stars 
MUMBLE PIC- Keir McAllister.jpgThe headline 4th act was Keir McAllister, a well known face on the Edinburgh comedy scene but one who burst forth out of absolutely nowhere and was a winner from the start.  After a real-life stint as a born-again Christian he decided to change tack completely over a decade ago and entered a Jongleurs competition in Dundee, only to find himself the winner of both that and the next heat, in Glasgow, then found himself thrust into the limelight at the final in London (at the famous Criterion Cafe with hosts such as Jasper Carrott) where he came second.  He has since had his ups and downs but has been a stalwart on the scene.  His material ranged from the mundane to the ridiculous, with great audience interaction and banter, and covered all manner of things from sex to jogging to Scottish truisms, perfectly timing his swings between pure, Meldrewesque grumpiness and bright, boyish charm.
Overall it was a great night and one I will be repeating and recommending IT, although I have one negative comment: of the 4 featured acts, 3 relied too much on Glasgow clichés and practically used a few of the same jokes/questions that were directed towards the stag & hen parties.  All of these comedians were funny in their own right but hearing the same thing over and over again in one show takes the gloss off it somewhat so it would be good to see less of this in future, perhaps a little more communication between the acts pre-performance?
Reviewer : Maya Moreno

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