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Filthy Weekender Comedy
Published on Friday, 11 May 2012

3 stars

The Nightingale (venue website)
5, 11-12, 18-19, 25-26 May, 10:00pm-11:45pm
Reviewed by Darren Taffinder

 Suitable for age 15+ only.

The idea behind Filthy Weekender is to mix local talent with a changing cast of well-known headline names, a sort of late-night lucky dip of comedy. Some nights are probably going to be brilliant. Other nights, not so much.  And to be honest, I’m not quite sure what my night was.

The first half of the show was more hit than miss. Compere Guy Lloyd did a great job warming up the crowd, and I thought Claire Parker was fantastic. Rich Perry lost his way a little mid-way, but he’s so likable that you could forgive him anything. I just wanted to jump up and give him a hug. And I really enjoyed Dan Allen’s deadpan delivery.

After the interval there were one or two empty seats. Not a great sign, but it’s the first night of the festival, and it’s getting late, so maybe that’s understandable. The second half started out well with John Tansey. As a fellow baldie, I really enjoyed his observation that the flat cap was the metrosexual equivalent of the comb-over. And then we had our first headline, out-of-towner Max Dickens, who was really enjoyable in a BBC panel show sort of way. So overall, the bill was not exactly earth shattering, and certainly not filthy, but, so far, it’s a solid, entertaining night out. And then…

On our way home my wife asked me how I was going to review this, and I’m still not exactly sure. I know Phil Kay has had well-documented problems at some shows recently, and I think this might count as one of those shows. It was a bit like watching your favourite band spilt up on stage midway through a terrible set. I’ve seen comedians die on stage, and I’ve seen bad shows, but this was different. As the show progressed he seemed to be consumed by a sadness.

The difficulty then is how do you review something where the main act… I don’t even know how to describe it – implodes? It changes your whole perception of the night. And since the headline artist changes throughout the run, on other nights this show could be legendary.

So, if I was to set aside the Phil Kay segment, my biggest complaint is that for a show called Filthy Weekender it wasn’t nearly filthy enough… and I speak as someone who gets embarrassed listening to Afternoon Delight on the radio. Even the stag party sitting in front of us were well behaved. Their biggest heckle was to shout at Claire Parker to read out the shipping forecast. It needs to push the boundaries a little more. Part of what makes comedy good is when it’s making you squirm – I squirmed, but not in a good way.

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These are archived reviews of shows from Brighton 2012.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.