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Review: John Bishop, Chris Ramsey & Andy Fury - Inside Out, Darlington. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Andrew Dipper   
05 07 2010
ImageI can usually gauge how successful and/or mainstream a stand-up comedian is based on my mam's reaction to their name. When I told her this morning that I was travelling to Darlington tonight to see John Bishop, her reaction was, Eeeh, he's the one off that James Corden show on the telly, isn't he?' Now, just because my mam's heard of a comedian doesn't make him any good; so I decided to head down to Inside Out, the birthplace of the Hilarity Bites comedy club, to review him off the telly, John Bishop.

In all my (admittedly short) career reviewing comedy, I've seldom seen a better line-up than tonight's gig in Darlington. Consisting of John Bishop, Andy Fury and Chris Ramsey, it was an evening filled with promise, in a spacious venue crammed with Hilarity Bites' regulars and a few just there to see a comedian off the television.

Kicking off proceedings was the night's main attraction, John Bishop, previewing his new Edinburgh show, Sunshine. Bishop's previous show, Elvis Has Left The Building, was a big hit at last year's Fringe, elevating him to the comedic promised land of television from which he has enjoyed much success.

Sunshine, essentially, documents his rise from gigging to an audience consisting of only his best friends to playing the illustrious Hammersmith Apollo. Bishop's material isn't blatantly funny, but his natural talent as a storyteller, combined with millisecond perfect timing, left the audience wanting more long after his sixty minute set. Indeed much of the Scouser's success derives from his close relationship with the crowd; Bishop is the archetypal working class comic, making him a likable (and very funny) character.

After the short break, middle act Andy Fury took to the stage, with the impossible task of following John Bishop's set. Fury himself referenced this, remarking that, It's great to have John Bishop supporting you' before admitting it would be tough to better Bishop's material. And whilst the local comic was on good form with his short set, interacting brilliantly with the sold-out crowd, it's evident that Fury's not yet at the standard of Ramsey or Bishop.

ImageClosing the night was comedian Chris Ramsey, rehearsing his new show, Aggro-phobia. The South Shields-born comic is ready to embark on a UK tour supporting Al Murray, so I was eager to see his new material. His hour-long set at Inside Out was constructed largely around his nostalgic take on growing up in South Shields, and, being from the town myself, I unintentionally nodded in agreement at almost everything he said. Ramsey was confident and energetic - almost too energetic for the audience - in his delivery, but his set was convoluted and slightly unorganised. That was Ramsey's only failing, however, and, providing he tightens up his set, his performance at Edinburgh should be one of the highlights of the summer.

Tickets for all shows are priced at 8, or otherwise 10 on the door, and are available from the Hilarity Bites website below:


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