This evening was my first visit to one of Manchester’s main comedy venues, Frog and Bucket, for their Friday Night Barrel of Laughs. Unsure what to expect, I was immediately put at ease by the welcoming atmosphere and strapped myself in for a night of stand-up.
Our host for the evening, Pete Otway, was a wonderful welcome to the proceedings: warm, friendly, and more than adept at handling the occasionally nonsensically rowdy Friday night crowd. His routine was wide-ranging but never earth-shattering, his interactions with the audience and improvisations far more memorable than his prepared material. Nonetheless, his instant likeability provided a good atmosphere for the other acts and the night as a whole.
Our first guest, Brennan Reece, undertook the now familiar role of slightly nerdy, self-deprecating underdog. While this can now slightly veer onto cliché as we have many examples of this sort of comedian in popular culture, Brennan is one of the better examples of his genre. His musings on exaggerated masculinity and the gym were genuinely hilarious, with his some of his best material coming when he described others as opposed to his criticisms of himself.
Second to the stage, David Tsonos, like our host Pete Otway, was particularly noteworthy when interacting with the audience and with hecklers, his reactions to the audience stealing the punchline of his routine much funnier than the joke may have been had it been allowed to run its course: this can probably be expected when it was apparent where the joke is going from two lines in.
The final act of the evening, JoJo Smith, ensured the evening went out with a bang with her brusque and unrelenting observations on sex and relationships, diving straight in with gusto and barely pausing for breath until her set had finished. She was certainly the most energetic of the acts, and this occasionally caused her jokes to become erratic and overlap one another, making them difficult to follow. However, she was a brilliant change of pace from the other comedians and really woke the audience up again, with some of her witty observations on the ‘honeymoon period’ of relationships really hitting their mark.
The Frog and Bucket provides comedy evenings every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Monday.
Judging by the high calibre of acts on last night, it is well worth a visit.
Reviewer: Hannah Torbitt
Reviewed: 13th January 2017