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Manchester lifestyle reviews

Messrs Comedy

MESSRS COMEDY: Are you ‘avin a larf?

Reviewed by Yvonne Cawley August 2011

 

Messrs Comedy certainly made me laugh when they performed an hour jam-packed comedy sketch show at the King's Arms pub in Salford. I’ve not been to a live comedy show for donkey’s years and so was really looking forward to it, coupled with the fact that the show had been performing to sell out audiences in London; great things were therefore expected.


It was also my first time in the King's Arms pub, which turned out to be a traditional, or as I call it a 'proper' pub with no finicky furniture or fittings, just a relaxed atmosphere with friendly bar staff and decent beer - see, I don’t ask for much! There was a spectacular stained glass window which gave the impression of being in a church, but a church that serves beer – now that may help get congregation numbers up!


The performance took place in the upstairs room, which was fairly small but worked well for the show, giving it a feeling of intimacy, and the raised stage ensured that wherever you sat you got a good view of the action.


The audience were treated to an extremely fast and funny collection of sketches, introducing us to a diverse selection of characters – all of whom were totally believable. The language used was straightforward and the performance lived on their acting and delivery skills alone rather than vulgarity or shock tactics, as some 'modern' or more acurately lazy comedians do.


The small team of four - Hugh O’Shea, James Britton, Jayne Edwards and lastly but by no means least, Daisy Marsden, all delivered clear and crisp individual performances, each displaying impeccable comedic timing. Whatever combination appeared on the stage in any given sketch, they gelled together perfectly giving a believable interpretation each and every time.


The props and costume changes were basic and kept to a minimum which worked extremely well, leaving the audience to concentrate on the characters and comic material rather than the fineries or adornments that can sometimes be a distraction. Mind you with the amount of material and separate sketches they managed to fit in, it probably also had something to do with lack of time, not that I’m complaining as it just meant that we got more material at which to giggle at.


Messrs ComedyCredit for the changeovers, which were all undertaken seamlessly, and the music and links into the audio sketches has to go to Jon McLeod, the sound engineer, who did a fantastic job on the night and in very thoughtful preparation.


There were a couple of routines that I wasn’t quite sure about, where I thought I’d obviously missed something, but there was no time to dwell as BAM! - straight into another routine. Even when they left the stage to get ready for the next sketch, you didn’t have time to go over what you’d just seen, because you were entertained with a diverse selection of hilarious audio sketches. I didn’t quite get some of these audio sketches, maybe a downside of having numerous different writers contributing to the material performed, though in truth this also means that there's a bigger range of material to cater for a wider audience.


The audio side of the evening was quite quirky and we were offered a range of funny adverts and snippets including a recurring scene featuring Stereotype Airlines, like Ozzie airlines who instructed us that no opening of “tinnies” was allowed until after take-off, and that your “Kangaroos” were stored in the front seat pocket! You get the picture, and the clichés used for Scotland, Germany and Italy, definitely childish and cliched, worked superbly on the evening with lots of laughter around the room. Sometimes the simple things work best and I think that is what I liked about the material Messrs Comedy used. Yes it was basic with no frills, but the delivery and innovative comedy sketches were a definite winner for me, and I think for the rest of the crowd as everyone was laughing and seemed totally relaxed.


At first I thought that maybe some of the shorter sketches should perhaps be longer, allowing the characters to develop a little more, but with hindsight I think it worked well, especially if one of the longer sketches didn’t hit the mark with you, at least if they were short and if you didn’t get it, then they went straight into the next one.


One of my favourite sketches was Reorganisation where Jayne Edwards, seated at her computer, motioned James Britton to take a seat – all very corporate and professional She then goes into details about diversifying, investment of time etc. to the bewilderment of a confused looking James, but it becomes increasingly clear that Jayne is actually his girlfriend and she is breaking up the relationship. James not to be outdone then tells her that this is OK, as in fact he is looking at other opportunities and is currently pursuing an offering of entering into a leaner sister company! The cut worked both ways in a way that we all appreciated.


There were a whole host of sketches and characters that hit the spot (Bus Driver, Lord Sugar’s secretary, Superheroes and even Maurice Gibb) but I won’t spoil it by giving too much away.

 

I really enjoyed this show and pay tribute to the cast and crew for their 1 hour whirlwind performance. New, innovative and extremely funny, which all contributed to a fantastic night out as I am sure the rest of the audience would confirm. If you do get chance to see them, pop along as they really are a very thoughtful and joyful giggle.

 

Having a drink in the bar afterwards, I noticed that the King's Arms have a knitting club every Monday night, which rather confirmed the Manchester Salon's brave decision to have a discussion to try and understand the current popularity of Crafts and Gardening, which I hadn't realised is gaining interest. Perhaps Messers Comedy could include something on this in the near future - and new writers looking to get their material aired would do well to submit it to them via the Messers Comedy Facebook group.

 
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