The Big Value Comedy Show
As he takes the stage, Eric Lampaert is full of his trademark energy. Never once pausing for breath, he is a whirlwind of words. This, apparently, is not quite what much of the audience was expecting. This is not to be an easy gig.
For dead-pan, slow-burning Romesh Ranganathan, the difficult crowd prove to be a major hindrance. The lack of response forces him to push the majority of his material to one side, which is a shame, as he is clearly an accomplished performer with natural comedic ability.
Chris Turner, replacing Caroline Mabey on the bill, begins his set on a somewhat flat note, assuming the self-assured, superior persona patented by the likes of Ricky Gervais. This attitude appears forced when coupled with his apparent youth, but his short, sharp, one-liners and unexpected rapping ability demonstrate a genuine raw talent.
Our final comedian of the evening is John Robins. His carefully crafted naivety allows him to bring a Thomas the Tank Engine innocence to the most crass of stories. His set is cut short, due to both his late arrival and the unanimated audience, which seemed to knock him off his stride.
Lampaert’s job was unusually tough, but his deft handling of the situation showed him for the gifted performer he is. The reluctant audience cast an unfortunate – and undeserved – shadow across the stellar comic talent on show.
The Big Value Comedy Show: Middle, Just The Tonic @ The Caves, 19.30, £10