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Review: The Wild Bunch New Act/Material Night - Walkabout, Middlesbrough. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jamie Stubbs   
08 09 2010
ImageHidden away in the upstairs function room of Middlesbrough's Walkabout pub is a lovely little gig supporting new and local talent at low cost and high value for money. To be honest, I was surprised to see the relatively new night providing a line up as strong as it did tonight, as it continues to build a following on Teesside. In contrast to usual comedy practise, this open-mic night started around 7:30pm and finished for 10pm, so I set out early in order to secure a seat.

Around 30 punters decided to avoid the England match tonight and instead support a Geordie themed comedy night compered admittedly by a Hartlepudlian Tony Basnett. Basnett handled the difficult job of playing to such a small and unconventional room amiably and with ease, bantering with the crowd, usually about the new Toy Story film and which of its characters stuffs it.

First up on the bill was Alistair Greaves, whom I'd last saw winning the Newcastle heat of the 2010 Laughing Horse New Act Competition. Greaves kicked off the night with surreal offbeat humour, silly songs including a particular favourite about vegetarianism and probably had the best exit joke of the night. Second on the bill was Geordie comedy club stalwart Dr. Carlos, whose embarrassingly funny song about wee proved to be the highlight of his set.

After the break we were treated to the surreal ramblings of Sean Turner, who wins the prize for best prop of the night for his immortality bucket - available from the back of his car for a mere 17,000. Penultimate act of the night Simon Buglass, fresh from a month long run at the Edinburgh festival, closed the second section with self deprecating material including his various lookalikes and ongoing embarrassment about being a man of larger stature. Buglass was at his best tonight and could have easily headlined the gig, given the modest entry fee.

Headlining tonight's show was Northumbrian Kai Humphries, who brought the house down with his best 30 minute set after honing his craft this August in Edinburgh where he was performing his debut solo show. It was good to see Humphries work his material around a non-Geordie audience, while his daft accent and childlike enthusiasm no doubt helped him break the ice with the small weekday Middlesbrough audience.

Although The Wild Bunch breaks convention by starting and finishing early in a room not exactly suited to comedy - added to the fact the gig is set up right across the road from the already well established Big Mouth Comedy Club ran at the town hall's crypt - the club is a cheap, friendly, high standard and most importantly entertaining regular night out in Middlesbrough. Considering the impressive number of punters they managed to pull in during an England match, the night can only go from strength to strength. 

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If you're looking to see some comedy - or perhaps perform - at The Wild Bunch Comedy Club, more information can be found here.

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