Review: Grinning Idiot Comedy Club, The Barnes, Sunderland

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SOMETIMES as a reviewer it’s difficult to get the feel for a comedy night when so many conflicting styles and techniques are on offer.

Such is the case at The Barnes in Sunderland, as The Grinning Idiot Comedy Club presents Andy Watson, Andy Fury and headliner David Hadingham.

Andy Watson’s shtick on the difference between men and women is unusual to hear at an alternative comedy club like The Grinning Idiot, but the Mancunian comic is a notable hit with the crowd.

Composed, confident and energetic, Watson sells his gags well, but I’m personally uncomfortable with some of his more insensitive routines – often ridiculing women, laughing at fat people or simply targeting the vulnerable. Watson’s stage presence is certainly striking, his material less so.

In contrast, a bout of subtle, surrealist comedy is employed by Andy Fury in the middle section of the night. Hebburn stand-up Fury offers a family-friendly style, with playful routines on animals, losing weight and visiting America with his girlfriend freshening up the show. A solid set from the upcoming talent.

Gentle giant David Hadingham is a decent headliner for a show like this – and delivers his prepared material with notable precision and charisma. Hadingham can certainly be close to the bone at times – and often deals with pretty unoriginal subject matter like getting drunk or the effects of drugs – but he has the skill set to sell anything and demonstrates impressive comedy technique in his prepared material, too.

And that was The Grinning Idiot Comedy Club’s final show of the summer.

They return in September with another night hosted by amiable compere John Smith.