Henley Fringe Festival reviewedBy Caroline Cook
July 20, 2012
There are three things you shouldn’t do at a comedy gig – sit at the front, be honest about your job, and faint during the finale.
The first is pretty well known but given the cosy setting of Lovibonds Brewery in Henley it seemed only right to perch on a comfy couch at the front for Direct Devitt on Wednesday.
The Scottish three piece are appearing in Henley as part of the Henley Fringe - a week of big laughs and music in stone-bricked breweries, pop-up tents and, as you might expect in Henley, boats.
With their bawdy sense of humour the trio brought plenty of laughs with compere Anna Devitt leading the way.
Going for a no-holds-barred style pretty much nothing was off limits for Anna – including lifting up her top and making her belly talk. When I said nothing, I meant nothing.
There was a whole heap of audience interaction too – not for the faint hearted and why it is always best to sit at the back - including asking the small crowd about their jobs and advising that it’s always best to lie. I’m still wishing I’d said zoo keeper instead of journalist.
Although Anna lead the charge with her gutsy comedy – chatting about sex, stereotypes and plenty more - she was well-supported by actress, stand-up and writer Clair Myychael and Katrina Lamont.
Clair has a brilliant elasticity in her performance bringing her characters to life with facial expressions and bounding across the stage.
Next up on the bill for the night was young comic Tom Rosenthal, best known for his role as Jonny in Friday Night Dinner.
Having grown up near Henley Tom played a great home-gig, poking fun at posh Henley folk and dubbing our couch ‘the royal box’ for the night.
As a fan of Friday Night Dinner his story about getting food poisoning on the set was a highlight for me. If you haven’t seen it, get the DVD, it’s brilliant.
Of course the 24-year-old couldn’t avoid talking about his famous father, sports presenter Jim Rosenthal, with a hilarious piece about his computer illiteracy.
Although there were parts of the set which were a little mish-mashed, as is the nature of the fringe where comics come to test new material, it only made us want to come back and see the polished version too.
For the grand finale Tom decided he wanted to recreate fireworks at Elbow’s performance from Latitude Festival and called us folks in the royal box to go and explode some party poppers on stage.
Whether it was the hot stage lights or not having eaten before the show I’m not sure, but just as I was poised to pull the string of my party popper I swooned and fell over.
The party poppers may have gone unpopped but I’m sure there’s a joke for Tom’s next set in there somewhere.
After picking me up and popping me back in the royal box Tom and the crowd stayed to enjoy Lovibonds selection of beers which have been brewed on site by owner Jeff Rosenmeier since 2005.
If you don’t make it along to the Fringe be sure to pop into Lovibonds anyway at some point as it’s one of Henley’s charming little hot spots.
And whatever you do, remember - don’t see comedy on an empty stomach and always sit near the back.
- Henley Fringe runs until Saturday. To see a full line-up visit http://www.henleyfringe.org.uk.