Monday 26 May 2014

The Glang Show (live, Sheffield, and Edinburgh Fringe 2014)

This May, I went to a particularly unusual evening of comedy, The Glang Show, a sort of anti-gong-show staged by Sheffield comedy organisation AltComCab.  It was strikingly unlike any other entertainment I have witnessed, and since it is this week headed to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (every evening at Sportsters Bar), it seemed appropriate to write it up at last.

The Glang Show is an anti-competiton, in which stand-up comics take turns performing their usual sets, under the direction of a sort-of regimented heckling, an interactive element that constantly threatens to shipwreck the sets, but in actuality renders them wonderful.  At the start of the show, each member of the audience was given a Point of Information card (in actuality, pages torn out of David Hume’s 18th century tract ‘On Suicide’), and when we raised our POI cards we were empowered to interrupt the performing comic with questions, directions or comments to which they might respond.

Tom Little receives a typical Point of Information
‘Could you tell that joke again, but with a different punchline?’  We could ask the comedian to elaborate on their current theme, or request that they stop talking about topics that left us uncomfortable.  At one point I asked a performer to go for a minute without saying anything funny, which in retrospect may have encumbered their ability to do their job.

Fortunately we had a dextrous set of performers, who made good use of our disconcerting interruptions.  The duration of their time on stage was partly decided by a scene-stealing electronic Bingo Corner, and their sets were underscored, silent-movie style, by live keyboard music from the show’s producer Sean Morley — so the comedians’ wit, stamina and improvisational powers were really put to the test.

Host Dan Nicholas extols the virtue of the jam from the Glang Show's
'Jam Corner', where a local business provides jam-based prizes.
Somehow the format worked.  What should have been a mess turned out to be a disorientating, fantastically entertaining evening, which challenged the stand-ups to rely on their wits rather than their usual material.  The intimacy of the format made the performers seem more human and more charming than they might have been when delivering prepared sets, but allowed them to demonstrate a real flair of comic ability.  The run of the Glang show at Edinburgh promises a fresh array of stand-ups each night, making it an appealing way to savour new talent and find new favourites.

Since I was present in my capacity as a camcorder-for-hire, the whole show can be found here on Youtube (with a trailer embedded at the top of this page, to give you the general idea of the show), but you’d be better off heading up to see it live at the Fringe, 18.45-19.45 at Sportsters Bar on Market Street in Edinburgh.  If you do drop in, be sure to say hello to show-runner Sean Morley.  If you're a comedian, you may even find yourself on the bill.

P.S. There was a trophy, of sorts, for the greatest comedian in the world ever, but the rules governing its almost arbitrary allocation were arcane and terrible, in both meanings of the word.

P.P.S. ☆☆☆☆☆

No comments:

Post a Comment