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Review: David Hadingham, Danny Deegan and Wes Zaharuk - Concordia Leisure Centre, Cramlington. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jamie Stubbs   
03 08 2010
ImageIn the last gig of the comedy season before traveling up North to perform his debut solo show at the Edinburgh festival, Kai Humphries presented three top acts from the UK and beyond, bringing them to a lively Monday night Cramlington audience. The Punch-Drunk Comedy show started as usual with Kai's typical audience banter, aided by the comic actually knowing the majority of people in his front row and with local references to people and places dished out in his friendly and childlike style of delivery.

You can't fault Kai's compering skills, and when given the chance to be a storyteller by making fun of audience members, his MCing capabilities really come into play. This time around it was the turn of regular front row members the Blazin' Squad to suffer the stick from Humphries, as apparently, after last month's Edinburgh preview showcase at Concordia, some members of the group had took it upon themselves to sleep overnight in the squash courts of the leisure centre. Not an ideal situation at the height of the Raoul Moat crisis, especially when the next morning Humphries, an employee of the centre, found a pair of legs sticking out in the corner - bear in mind the day prior Moat had robbed a chip shop in nearby Seaton Deleval!

First up on the triple headliner bill was Wes Zaharuk, a Canadian performer who mixes comedy and magic with a wacky and ironic sense of delivery. I was unsure of how to take Zaharuk's act at first, owing to the poisoning of the word variety by shows like Britain's Got Talent, but was assured by Humphries that Wes cracks him up every time and he was not wrong.  A testament to not sitting in the front row, Wes required a couple of volunteers to help him with his act including Blazin' Squads very own Ross who faced near death multiple times by way of bowling balls and Indiana Jones style whips, or indeed a whole roll of toilet paper shot out at super speed with the use of a high power leaf blower.

ImageAfter the interval Danny Deegan took to the stage, a young Mancunian comic very aware that with his long hair and clothing style he looked very out of place in a town like Cramlington. He soon won over the crowd, however, with well thought out and ambitious lengthy stories on his grandma's 90th birthday present and his own immaturity in relationships. As a newer act Deegan held his own in this middle section, proving his merit and controlling rowdy members of the audience amiably. A particular favourite line of mine was his successful attempt to catch an audience member out after he answered the dreaded question of ‘How long have you two been together?' without hesitation by following it with ‘When's her birthday?'

Headlining tonight's bill was David Hadingham, a wild eyed paranoid performer who holds no reservations when discussing his drug use and sexual preferences on stage. His style is not to everyone's taste but, as he says himself, ‘some of you may find me sexist, the rest... are men'. I've seen Hadingham perform in the North East a few times now, and I am consistently surprised by his energy, enthusiasm and turnover of material. Hadingham capped the night off well for the lively and unreserved Cramlington audience finding their level perfectly.

Indeed Hadingham's finest moment came when he was about to start on the topic of menstruation. Two ladies from the aforementioned Blazin' Squad got up to go to the toilet, and I can attest (having seen Hadingham before) this is his usual line on the subject: ‘Did you know that when two women spend a lot of time together their menstrual cycle synchronises?' Sometimes, things that happen by accident are just ten times funnier than anything a top comic has laboured for months over. This was one of those occasions.

If you're looking to see some Punch Drunk Comedy, comedy returns to Concordia
Leisure Centre in October. Tickets for all shows are priced at just £5.
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