In a time of austerity and spiralling ticket prices, Live at Brighton Dome feels like a remarkably good wheeze.
The second hosting of this new Saturday night gig (June 16) at the Dome featured an impressive roster of five established top-quality comics.
MC Jen Brister presided over a line up of primo performers and dished out some good lines about the middle-age relief of a cancelled night out and public curiosity towards same-sex parenthood.
London-based Dane Sofie Hagen is an assured and super-confident stand up with some nice Brexit material (“I like your country, I’d like to stay.”) and the absurdity and ‘internalised self-loathing and misogyny’ of men who profess an aversion to women comics.
Some of Reginald D. Hunter’s set was a little under-cooked, but as the panel show regular pointed out, it’s likely to improve with time, just like the bizarre relationships he’s cultivated with racists on social media.
As ever he was on target with racism, ascribing part of Donald Trump’s success to the ‘cosmic agony’ felt by the heartlands of America during President Obama’s tenure.
Joe Wilkinson was another biggish name from the small screen who gave a fun and physical turn in a cloud of talcum powder (think of a beardier version of the hair-flinging slow-motion Flashdance montage). In addition to a monstrously charismatic presence, his material was gently off-kilter but sharp. A reading from Sue Lawley’s biography was monumentally funnier than it sounds, and who doesn’t want to hear how things deteriorate after he ‘downed a jar of Loyd Grossman’s lamb bhuna curry sauce’.
David O’Doherty’s extended set was a giddying heft of great ideas. Inventive and intelligent and delivered with note-perfect charm. Despite describing musical comedy as ‘the lamest genre of all’ his songs and chat chomped on the chaos of modern life; including the disparity between real life and Instagram, and the horror of leaving your phone at home.
The next Live at the Dome nights take place on September 15 and November 10.
September’s line-up hasn’t been confirmed but the November event features the talents of James Acaster, Desiree Burch, Mark Watson and compère Ed Gamble.
To find out more visit https://brightondome.org/whats_on/comedy/