Comedy @ Spleen is an excellent comedy room, which continues to have packed line ups and draws large crowds of enthusiastic punters who are keen to have a laugh! On 5 December, the long room was packed almost to capacity 10 minutes before show time and had good energy as room runner Steele Saunders bustled around making sure the night was good to go!
Speaking of the packed line up, in order of performance we saw Tommy Dassalo (MC), Danny McGinlay, Chris Wainhouse, Naomi Higgins, Greg Larsen, Dave Thornton, Xavier Michelides, Jay Morrissey, Kyle Legacy, Michael Goldstein, Perri Cassie and Tommy Little.
Tommy Dassalo kicked off the night loudly and with enthusiasm. Despite Tommy seeming unsure about his set early on, he found his groove and used his local knowledge well to add additional punch to his stories. In his second set of the night, Tommy demonstrated how he can develop a joke to maximise it’s potential. Having seen Tommy a month or so prior at Rochey Comedy, he executed a story with greater precision at Spleen showing the benefits of his workshopping. Along these lines, Jay Morrissey also demonstrated quality development in his material, which drew solid laughs.
Chris Wainhouse and Mike Goldstein delivered short sets with composure and flow. Mike’s quick thinking and sharp tongue continues to entertain. Perri Cassie delivered a similarly understated set but at a time of the night where parts of his material may have been overlooked.
Danny McGinlay focused a large part of his set on audience interaction with a particularly chatty audience member. While Danny’s prepared material was executed well, his audience work is worth noting. Danny’s ‘relaying’ technique (repeating the audience member’s comments to the rest of the crowd) meant that all felt involved and there was a shared comedy experience. His smiley and jovial onstage persona meant that while there were some jibes, it was all in good faith. Not all of the comedians conducted their audience interaction with such a simple but skilled technique.
One point that needs to be made, which isn’t about onstage efforts, is about behind the scenes communication between the acts. I’ve never been ‘behind the curtain’ but surely there is some level of discussion (even between the brackets) about what is working and which audience members have been ‘targeted’ so far. Particularly on a busy night, it becomes tiresome if the same audience members are repeatedly spoken to. This is made even more evident if no jokes are found from different comedians targeting the same audience members.
In a mixed evening, the highlight of the night was surprise guest Dave Thornton. Dave opened with classic observational comedy, using relatable topics with well-developed scene setting introductions. Dave left a particular impression with a Louis CK’esque rant, which had a well-crafted build up, passion and loads of rage that led to waves of laughter. While his second rant did not have the same poignancy and felt a bit repetitious, this did not take away from the excellent performance we had just witnessed.
Remember punters when you head to Spleen to put in a couple of coins or a note when you leave! Thanks to Comedy @ Spleen and Steele for another entertaining night!