Manchester is blessed with two superb comedy clubs in the form of The Frog And Bucket and The Comedy Store each providing some of the very best comedy nights out you could ever wish for. As yet Jongleurs has not arrived in the Manchester area which after tonight’s performances of their ‘On The Road’ offering is a crying shame and something that I personally hope will be rectified before too long.
The premise is simple and follows every comedy night format, 3 comedians performing sets hosted by a compere. Tonight in the Quays Theatre at The Lowry Eddie Brimson, Mrs Barbara Nice and Mick Ferry are the three featured acts all expertly compered by the incomparable Jonathan Mayor. All four comedians were on top of their game tonight and the 2 hour show simply flew by in the blink of an eye.
I have had the pleasure of seeing Mayor before at The Lowry and have to confess he is ne f my favourite comedians on the circuit at the moment. A Moss Side gang lord, or so he thinks they call him, he is loud and in your face from the moment he comes onto the stage. He is totally aware of the line drawn between acceptable and vulgar and offensive and he walks that line with skill. His interaction with the audience is first class albeit at times a little uncomfortable for his targets. Tonight Simon and Ormerod (from Colne) felt the full force of Mayor and credit must be given to them as they really did take the verbal onslaught very well indeed.
First up was Brimson with his softly spoken relaxed delivery remarking how the Quays Theatre at The Lowry is regarded as an iconic room for comedians to play. Speaking about the breakdown of his marriage and how the dating scene has changed over the years it was clear he struck a chord with a large proportion of the audience. His approach to charity workers in the street and pandas made up the rest of his set which was a joy from start to finish.
Second on stage was Mrs Barbara Nice. I have heard wonderful reviews about this lady and her performances but until tonight had never had the pleasure of seeing her. Wow, how do you describe her? Barbara (as in Streisand) Nice (as in the biscuit) arrived from the back of the auditorium clutching shopping bags and her handbag wearing a lime green raincoat which could have done with an iron running over it, weaving through the seats on her way to the stage. What followed was almost a eulogy to the lost shopping establishments of the UK including Woolworths and BHS before moving onto to celebrities that have passed. This all culminated in the entire audience competing in a game of “Dead Celebrity Musical Statues” where the winner took home a bag of Minstrels (well almost a bag). Janice Connolly, the architect behind this character is a superb performer and I was a little bit sad her set was over so soon.
After an over long interval in my view the final act of the evening was the imposing yet loveable figure of Mick Ferry. Ferry took to the stage to a less than enthusiastic welcome from the audience which I found a little rude to be fair, but he soon had us rolling in the aisles with his take on being 47 years old and the associated problems the ageing process brings. A serious yet comedic look at the perils of giving up smoking ended with a debate as to whether Heaven exists and what it would be like to spend eternity there with your mum!
Jongleurs On The Road was superb from the first till the last minute. Differing slightly to the comedy clubs up the road in Manchester, being in a theatre made for a more enjoyable experience as the crowd sat attentive and not chattering away and going to the bar whilst the acts were performing. Mayor closed the evening by announcing that the show will return to The Lowry in the future, something I personally cannot wait for and to see if they can maintain the exceptionally high standard of their first visit.
Reviewer: Paul Downham
Reviewed: 8th July 2016