After visiting The Stand Comedy Club for the first time a few weeks ago I’ve been itching to get back and on Friday I took advantage of the regular 2 for 1 deal available for the Club’s 8:30pm Friday show. Part of the reason I chose to see this particular show was the fact that BBC Radio Newcastle’s Alfie Joey was the evening’s host. Alfie is one half of duo Alfie and Charlie, who present the breakfast show from Monday to Friday.
When I initially came back to the UK from New Zealand, I would regularly tune into their show as it was great to hear good old Geordie craic at the start of the day. Although Joey on the radio can be a little obtuse at times – deliberately going too far to wind up his co star Charlie Charlton, with his stubborn views of music (recently claiming he has never heard of the Clash!) – he was the perfect host for a night that started poorly but was rescued in style by a superb gig from comedy stalwart Addy Van Der Borgh.
Fans of comedy will know that Van Der Borgh has been on the scene for a number of years, playing top venues across the UK and worldwide. On TV, you’re most likely to have seen him on Sky – he wrote and co-presented ‘TV Meltdown’ with Kirsty Gallagher as well as making appearances on the stand-up show ‘Live At Jongleurs’. Van Der Borgh took to the Stage around ten and immediately picked up a flagging crowd who, aside from Alfie Joey’s working class anecdotes and celebrity impersonations, had been subjected to some average performances from three other UK comics.
Addy is like a lucid Bill Bailey and the similarities in the style and approach of the two are so obvious that at first I was wondering who ripped who off? I soon warmed to the big nosed Southerner however. His intelligent comedy writing, which on his current tour takes an insightful look at the way in which we use and understand language, is very engaging. Whether it’s his ability to bring seemingly inanimate everyday objects to life or the range of different voices and international accents that are used to deliver his stories, you’re rarely not laughing for the entire hour long set. The French accent in particular goes down a treat, especially since his large nasal appendage makes him resemble a stereotypical male francophone.
Some of the memorable moments from Addy’s set include the eloquent Knight of Camelot-esque Gas Man who will ‘endeavour’ to return the next day to read your meter. And the embarrassing moment when visiting the country of one of our European neighbours you discover their grasp of the English language is far greater than yours. An English tourist asking for directions to the nearest train station, for example, is likely to get a response such as “if you follow the road on your left past the vernacular baroque style building decorated with little Gothic figurines, which I find a little ostentatious…”
Addy also talks fondly about his ‘crazy times’ off the drink and uses his microphone as a vocal prop to great effect, in true Hicks style. Yes there are resemblances of other comedians in there but his own uniqueness is enough to carry through a great and well measured comedy performance. If there was perhaps a criticism at all it would be the fact that it was too rehearsed. When an audience member began throwing wine over a harmless heckler in the front row the show descended briefly into carnage. Bouncers got involved and the foolish woman was escorted out. Addy didn’t really recover from this and failed to bring people back before his time ran out.
Still, I would certainly recommend you check him out. All forthcoming dates are listed on his site http://www.addyvanderborgh.com. There is a full schedule running up until the end of June.