Filthy Weekender Comedy at the Nightingale Theatre - Friday 18th May 2012
sticking a finger in the chimney ...
Brighton's newest comedy promotion outfit, Filthy Gigdog Promotions, started in 2011 by Kev Quatermass, Dan Walker and Guy Lloyd are showcasing some of the best local and National comedy acts at the Nightingale Theatre as part of the Brighton Fringe festival.
Comedy gigs for this year's fringe take up the lion's share of listings and in recent years there has been a huge resurgence in the comedy circuit. The Nightingale theatre is a wonderfully intimate venue over looking Brighton station forecourt, and is a favourite amongst performers. The large stage gives them ample room for theatrics and dynamic performances, whilst the easy access between rows of seats means no spectator is immune from comedy pickings.
Friday's Filthy Gigdog line up saw Brighton's very own Adam Race, Flange Krammer, Rob Dumbrel and Roz Ryan perform, with the inimitable and ebullient stage warrior that is Nick Helm headlining the show.
The evening's compere was Rue Barratt - a man who should surely be in Westerns with such a wonderful moniker - and a comic who performed his own show last Saturday.
First up was the fresh faced Adam Race, who launched into staccato wordplay on his own name; fast paced humour matched by his own physical perambulations across the stage. He gave a warm, confident and assured performance, tickling the audience with such diverse references as alcoholic atlases as neon pink comic sans poems. A genuinely cheeky chap with a promising future in comedy. Just don't mention Mica Paris.
Next was Rob Dumbrel. Rob lives in a caravan. With earwigs. He's formed a symbiotic relationship with these creatures, who provide a very quirky and amusing topic for part of his show. He's a five year veteran of stand up, described as a "blitzkrieg of an act" - and his topical satire was wryly amusing , well delivered crowd pleasing stuff. He's currently working on his first hour show '30 metres down!'
Flange Krammer. The unforgettable Flange Krammer. Out he bounds onto stage, the Germanic Winter ski champ, complete with a wild snow suit, goggles and medals. Fuelled up on 'Power Horse', he gives the audience a hilarious sexually pitched tirade with power gags. A definite hit with the ladies, Flange even manages to host a sing along and a ski competition in the space of 10 minutes and the comedy never become too OTT. Novel, memorable and delightfully bonkers.
Roz Ryan is a well versed performer, having had two years of stage experience perfecting her 'grumpy old lady in training' routine. Drawing on diverse topics such as shopping for jeans, tech gadgets, holidays and doctors she regaled the audience with comic personal tales peppered with astute and cynical observations on life. Nicely paced, Roz is a natural and engaging performer, her material readily consumed like a fine wine by the audience. Shiraz since you ask.
The headline act Nick Helm closed the evening with a half hour voluble, brash and bawdy set, assailing the audience with his trademark 'shouty man' persona. Nick has featured on Russell Howard's 'Good News' and Chris Addison's 'Show And Tell' TV shows, as well as performing live at various festivals around the country. His joke was voted the best ever at last year's Edinburgh festival - and was apparently written by his dad, who got half the award money. Bravo!
Resistance, as the saying goes, is useless, and if you are in the audience (particularly at the front) this adage is especially true. Nick simply won't take no for an answer. His stage act has been described as 'bi-polar' by some reviewers - I don't hold with that, it's a lazy description. It's just massively ebullient and relentless - a powerhouse set, and almost transgressive - veering from coarse abuse of the audience to delicate, poetic and weirdly unhinged recitals. It's a tidal flow, ebbing and flowing, soft and strong, explosively harsh then calm and measured.
I was quite transfixed by it all. I'm not sure to what extent it was adrenaline fuelled, testosterone fuelled or an unleashed alter-ego - it really worked, and worked well. Helm is known for getting physical with the audience, and tonight was no exception - don't worry, it's in the nicest possible way - and provided one of the highlights of his show. He pitches his act perfectly and it is never threatening or really uncomfortable - pure theatrics, and very funny. It's part humiliation then, as Nick states, "turning them into heroes for the day". I'm sure the chap in question won't forget his night in a hurry, especially as he was on a date.
We were also treated to a couple of songs, and finally a sing along - after some coercion - showcasing his musical side as well.
Nick has just completed a show for BBC 3 - Live At The Electric, hosted by Russell Kane, with the next episode due to air on Thursday 31st May.
A deliciously intense and robust act, one which was repeated on Saturday night to a packed venue, again at the Nightingale theatre. Nick Helm can only continue to go from strength to strength, and with ever increasing national exposure in the media, expect to see much more of him in the future.
By Andrew Collins
Watersports Brighton, Hove Lagoon Brighton