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Review: Krater Comedy Club 19.10.14

For the last 20 years, Komedia’s ‘Krater Comedy Club’ has provided a platform to showcase up-and-coming comedians, including Michael McIntyre, Alan Carr and Noel Fielding. Now residing at The Basement in York’s City Screen Picturehouse, the intimate venue is providing our city with some of the newest names in comedy.

This Sunday saw Mike Newall, Si Beckwith, Sean Moran and Paul Sinha perform, with Bryan Lacey compering the proceedings. The show began with some audience-participation from Lacey, who made sure the unlucky front row got more banter than they bargained for, sitting only a foot away from the grilling comedian. Keeping the show upbeat, we’d like to especially congratulate Bryan on dealing with one very persistent, ageing Yorkshire heckler, managing to still laugh after being told to “F-off” is quite a skill!

Stockport-born Mike Newall kicked off the show first. Sticking to his dry, observational style, his set was filled with anecdotes ranging from annoying neighbours to the many woes of being a best man. Although slow to start, once Mike hit his stride, it was a shame to see his set end- especially when there were more of his stories of socks to be had…

The two shorter slots following the interval could have benefited from being a bit longer, with Si and Sean being real crowd-pleasers. Given the range of ages in the crowd,  Geordie Si Beckwith was definitely a hit with the younger, student audience members. With hints of surrealism thrown in with pop culture led commentary, we cringed whilst we laughed as we realised we are those ‘wankers who dance ironically to 90’s tunes’ (We’re also secretly hoping Johnny Depp will one day star in Byker Grove the Musical.) Sean Moran rather contrastingly provided us with some observations of his daily life as a husband and a father. With some glimmers of humour, sadly some of his set was a bit forgettable, as his material was largely aimed at fellow settled-down thirty-somethings.

Headline act Paul Sinha (yes, that bloke from the Chase with the Michelin man neck) was the real star of the show however, taking us on a weird and wonderful journey through his colourful life as a ‘Gaysian’ (his term not ours) doctor turned stand-up comedian and professional quizzer. Storytelling comes so naturally to Paul Sinha, his recounting of tales of trauma and his new found ‘heroism’ on a London tube kept the audience laughing from start to finish. His brilliant flashes of wit are markers of his clear great intelligence and some dark undertones to his comedy were surprising, yet brilliantly executed. It was nice to get to know a bit more about the “twat in the white jacket” (his phrase not ours).

Despite most of the names on the bill being new to us, the Krater Comedy Club is an enjoyable way to spend a Sunday evening (really, what else are you gonna do?), while discovering some new comedic talent. The small venue allows for a very personable, more relaxed, show of comedy – a great addition to York’s weekend entertainment which avoids those awful hoards of drunken stags and hens, yielding inflatable penis’ with cringey group t-shirts. This sort of nightlife is more what the Vikings would have wanted.