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Tyneside’s funny Mancs

Trudie Robinson concludes her Edinburgh 2007 report with how the Manc-based comedians got on

Published on August 29th 2007.


Tyneside’s funny Mancs

It’s the end of August and the Fringe festival’s jumped, skipped and tumbled to a close. The ruddy, rosy pallor of our cheeks have turned pale and the comics that, like monkey nuts were once fresh and amusing to observe are now empty, broken husks discarded by consumers.

Since we last spoke, Manchester Confidential has taken in the Manc/Tyneside contingent at the fringe. Bizarrely Manchester seems to draw much comic talent from Geordie land - Sarah Millican, Jason Cook, Lee Fenwick, John Cooper, Barry Dodds and Seymour Mace have all come to live in the city. Of these no less than four have been at the Fringe this year. Lee Fenwick was performing at Just the Tonic’s Big Value shows and Barry Dodds was over at the Pleasance Courtyard with Avalon’s Comedy Zone. Mace and Cook meanwhile had put on shows of their own at The Stand comedy club.

Seymour Mace’s well received Where’s Batman? was in his familiar eccentric style, taking a wry look at superheroes. Mace’s show stems from the childhood trauma of bobbing about Tyneside as a child dressed as Robin, but always without a Batman. He introduces the audience to various superheroes we’re already familiar with and others that you can’t quite believe exist. Constructed in five easy steps Mace’s handy guide gives advice to aspiring superheroes from not revealing your identity (note Clark Kent’s glasses) to the simplistic but very important ‘ability to get changed quickly.’

Cook’s show, which followed Mace’s, was also critically lauded, entitled My Confessions it listed some of Cook’s innermost thoughts. It began fairly light heartedly with him divulging that his girlfriend cuts his hair – not much of a revelation when you look at his bob style. It continues in a gently jokey manner when he tells of the practical jokes that he plays on his mate Barry (the Dodds of the Manc/Geordie collective we presume) and his girlfriend Claire. But it’s towards the end of the show where the pathos kicks in, the bit for which it must have at least been considered for an Eddie award. Firstly he confesses that he has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and that in his life and on his plate…. eggs and beans should never meet. But he’s just building up to a truly revelatory and moving expression of emotion about his father’s recent stroke.

Talking of the Eddies, when the shortlist for the main award and the newcomer prize was released on Wednesday it was apparent that our Manc lot had been overlooked. With the amount of Manchester acts in Edinburgh you would have thought that like throwing sausages at a Barbie, at least one of them would stick but sadly not. Though the good news is that the victor, Brendon Burns the controversial Aussie comic and a regular performer in the city, will be performing his winning show at the Frog and Bucket during the Manchester Comedy Festival, so all is not lost. Roll on next year.

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