Underbelly Festival, London
The McNaughtons, Edinburgh Spotlight August 13th, 2011
Having enjoyed our outing to James Campbell’s show last year we decided that adding more children’s comedy to our review schedule was a must for this year.
We headed down to the Bongo Club in Holyrood Road this evening with expectations of a good giggle.
The format of the show matches that of an adult stand-up show – the show is compered by Tiernan Douieb, who is great at pulling it all together and encouraging the kids in the audience to chat and engage in the banter which centres around misunderstandings and word play. He’s very good at twisting words and quick to respond and come up with an entertaining way of interpreting the lines the children are throwing at him. We had a good laugh over one child whose name was Adam and claimed to have lived on earth alone for 10 years even although he was only 7.
Tiernan comperes the appearances of other stand-up comics who are accustomed to performing more adult routines, but are called in to this environment with a requirement to clean up their act and remove the swearing or inappropriate content.
This evening as we arrived to see the show we weren’t sure who was due to appear. By following the Twitter account @comedyclub4kids you should get an idea of who is appearing on any evening, but the nature of the show means that sometimes even this actively updated stream doesn’t have the right details – and as the show unfolded, there was some doubt as to whether there would be two or three guest comics on stage.
First up was Joe Lycett adopting the persona of John Roast whose comedy routines rely on repetition of a punch-line ( and of course, we’re not allowed to give away the punchlines as that would spoil the joke!). Our junior critics felt that his routine didn’t quite work, as despite a very short routine, he was referring to a prompt on a piece of paper after a couple of items. But we did get an insight into the nature of repetition as a comedy device. For adults, you can see more of Joe at the Pleasance.
We enjoyed the routines of Nick Doody rather more. His early routine involving a malfunctioning microphone was very funny, and after the show even our most junior reviewer was mimicking the routine about keeping a flame as a pet. He’s performing in the Free Fringe, although in a more adult routine which is a recent addition to the running order – so seek him out, it will be worth going along.
As we headed back home after the show, we were involved in a wide-ranging discussion about the nature of comedy, comedy timing, the ages at which comedy for children changes as they matures, and a whole range of other subjects. So at the level of challenging our knowledge and provoking a jolly good family discussion, this show worked very well. We’d recommend you go along and sample an event – always different, and worth going back more than once if you enjoy comedy.
Added comments by Helen (13): “Really good show for children under 12. I didn’t personally find everything funny, but I don’t think it’s aimed at my age group. The Adam joke was genius!”
Added comments by Alex (9): “I thought it would be funny for people younger than 10. I really enjoyed the jokes, it was very funny to me!”