Jim Smallman: Group Therapy
It's hard to review shows that rely heavily on the audience, because you end up reviewing the punters rather than the act. Today's audience is sparse, tired and visibly suffering from a collective hangover. I'd give them (including myself) two stars.
Smallman and his comedian mates (today it's Alexis Dubus and Danny Buckler) are agony uncles, inviting us to share our problems so they can help and/or take the piss. Smallman's a terrific presence, all effervescent charm and early-afternoon bounciness. Even the vague grunts and monosyllabic answers offered by the audience are enough for him to spin into properly funny gags. He's also generous with his co-hosts, offering them plenty of time to do their own riffs or throw in a bit of material.
Eventually the crowd does start to warm up and we get some bizarre topics such as drug-dealing pensioners and the practicalities of dogging in a Cessna. By the time the show ends, everyone is really starting to get into it and we'd all gladly stay for another hour.
Do go and see this, but get yourself psyched up first and be prepared to offer a problem for the guys to get their teeth into. Given enough energy from the crowd, this show could be great.