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Review: Comedy In The Dark @ The Electric Cinema

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Did they really need to play 90s boyband favourite ‘Baby when the lights go out’ before the show? Good job I was getting my buzz on…

As predicted, this event quickly sold out and luckily I got hold of some tickets. Even more luckily it was first come first served so the husband and I bagged one of the sofas (Yesssss! Get in!).

For those of you not familiar with the Electric Cinema, the back of the auditorium contains several squashy leather sofas, with shelves to put your cocktail/ beer/ mixed nuts on and space to get close and cuddly with your date. As this show was taking place in pitch black, I should think there were more than a few pairs of wondering hands (not for us though, dear readers: marriage has it’s more glamorous moments but tonight wasn’t one of them due to both of us being sick – I’ll spare you the details). The Electric Cinema though – can’t recommend it highly enough for dates.

Back to the comedy, after excitable compare David Morgan gave us the rules (no running off to the toilet, and a code-word to be uttered only in an emergency to flick the lights back on and summon the police, ambulance, SWAT teams etc), the night began in earnest.

In the dim light, David walked off and Joe Lycett crept on. I say crept because Joe Lycett would perhaps belong to Slitherin House (albeit reluctantly) if he inhabited the Harry Potter universe. About 20 seconds into his act the lights were slowly dimmed to utter darkness and we were left with just his voice. And Joe Jycett has a most interesting voice indeed. It has a creepy Vincent Price-like quality that I could keep listening to all day. In the darkness it was like listening to him on the radio, describing his life as someone who doesn’t quite fit the mould enough for a successful life (this is the premise – I have no idea if it is true). After his allotted 10 minutes the lights came back up, unseating not just the audience but Mr Lycett himself who forgot his thread and had to be prompted by hecklers with ‘what about the story?’ He dutifully obliged but I feel that he probably suits a longer set.

Unwelcome spotlight: I thought the point of this show was that we were in the dark.

Next up was Old Etonian wunderkind and winner of the 2009 So You Think Your Funny Award, Ivo Graham. Relating tales of his recent virginity loss and passing his driving test, Master Graham sounded more like Pitt The Younger (the Blackadder version) rather than a youthful Bill Hicks. My husband (who had not heard of anyone on the bill) was left commenting ‘this boy just hasn’t quite got ‘it’. Needs more practice.’ I am sorry to agree. Perhaps Ivo was having an off-day but I wouldn’t have known he’d garnered so much hype based on his performance tonight. He too was somewhat thrown by the pesky lights and didn’t quite get his mojo back.

Josh Widdicombe was the final act and the only man that did not surrender to the sudden intrusion of the lights. He just calmly kept on with his story and finished in his own sweet time. Josh is a pro and I am sure comedy super-stardom beckons shortly because he really has his act down pat. He handles the crowd beautifully with absolutely no sign of nerves and is not afraid of the pause, unlike so many newer comedians on the circuit.

I had a great time. I wasn’t in a good mood at the beginning but this night really cheered me up. Stand-up comedy is a notoriously unforgiving business, attempted by only the most foolhardy courageous of souls so I applaud all the acts and wish them well with their careers. No one died on stage or failed to give at least one good joke so the night was a success.

The only thing I would change about the format would be to avoid bringing up and dimming down the lights between acts. I guess it was for ‘elf n safety’ purposes but it would actually have added to the comedy to hear the clowns stumbling onto the stage and merely hearing their voices. The comedians often ended up precariously close to the stage’s edge in any case so if they’re going to topple over, let them go!

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