Walking into the gig, two things immediately grab my attention; one, the sheer size of the audience – people are already standing or sitting on the floor – and two, that a lot of these people are under the age of twelve. There are to be no easy shock or niche gags; this show has to have wide appeal. Thankfully, it has bucket-loads.
Compere Chris Turner makes fantastic use of his improv comedy skills and is a master class in audience interaction – he is a natural with the kids. His youthful appearance belies his ability; he seems to have the experience of years which, paired with his enthusiasm and brace-laden smile, makes for a very exciting performance. The highlight of the show is his improvised rap about shopping, holidays, and a glow stick-clad wingless pterodactyl named Toodles (actually in the audience).
Adam Hess takes to the stage, noticeably less comfortable and a bit fidgety. His material is good – silly jokes abound – and there is no doubt that he is a talented comedian, but he comes across a little nervous and under-confident, and it makes the audience less willing to go with him.
Final act Liam Williams, decidedly grungy in appearance, has to adapt his act much more than the others to produce a family-friendly performance. His material is dark in places, and smart and daft in equal measure. He chats a bit to the children in the audience but doesn’t become sweetness and light because of their presence. Clearly an excellent comedian, he leaves you wanting to see him unconstrained.
These three make for a great show.
AAA Batteries (Not Included), Laughing Horse @ Meadows Bar, until 28 August, 14:45. Part of the Free Festival