Mel Byron: Standing at the Back

Laughing Horse – City Cafe
Aug 16 – 19, 16.35

The City cafe just up from Cowgate is a restaurant/ night club venue with tiny rooms downstairs. I had arrived for the comedy show called ‘Mel Byron: Standing at the back’ the turnout in the 15 seat room was compiled of couples and a mother and teenage kid.
Mel’s story began with a talk about depression, but she told it with an answer of how to cure and avoid it, by living I think was the gist. She had a spirited attractive feeling about her like she was bubbling with life. The words spanned out at speed with dynamic force of pronunciation, a clown without the makeup.

Never tying herself down to any particular style she instead threw everything together in a kind of combustion on the stage (no stage but a proportion of the room). Her awareness of the room was in every glance she gave you, and after eye contact we were sharply reminded that we were at a stand up gig.

Her intimately personal stories were ripe for a swan song wrapping up of a life story we just entered into. We saw her in a whirlwind of emotions bending bravely and ending with punch lines of rapid fire and tumultuous delivery as if she was escaping a fire.
If the room died she dealt with it, if we were alive she would also arrive but with a killer joke. She had a handbag of props and a fancy hat that she would put on but then in one of her flashes quickly took off again.

Self deprecation, so much a part of comedy, she stretched into unfathomable sizes playing on it like her life depended on it, she also had a grace and personality that if you can catch her in a good mood you would want to be around. She was a well dressed, perpetrator of the room, doing what she can for the loneliest of things being a stand up comedian with a subject and round up to die for.

The story she put together into a ridicule making fun of life’s pain, sorrow and suffering leaving a longer lasting effect on us like a kind of tonic for therapy. The tears of laughter look the same as those of sadness that was the effect of life at least for the 50 min Stand up show called ‘Standing at the back’ by a talented and courageous Mel Byron, who didn’t let you sit still for too long.

Daniel Donnelly

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