The Birmingham Footnotes: Don't Mind Me (PBH Free Fringe)

Sat 2nd – Sat 16th August 2014

reviews

Marnie Langeroodi

at 09:34 on 9th Aug 2014

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The Birmingham Footnotes put on an enjoyable show with impressive professionalism. Up and coming comedians from the University of Birmingham took to the stage in succession to try out their material on 2014 Fringe-goers. The Birmingham Footnotes consist of a rotating cast of 12 comedians, so you can expect a different line-up every night.

The audience seemed to enjoy the offerings with a rowdy front-row in particular, while the performers came across as relaxed and confident.

Ellis Tucker stood out as my clear favourite. Immediately he had a unique style – unless he was just drunk. He improvised well when prompted by a member of the audience and caught out the crowd with witty one-liners. Tucker is a guy who can’t actually do impressions, yet he managed to base almost a whole set around them; he made it work through great comic timing, intriguing delivery, and a clever premise.

I expected a bit more from the MC (Josh Nash) who, at first, was perhaps a little less composed then the others – there was no audience interaction from him, apart from the instruction to clap. It would have perhaps been nice to see him talk directly to certain individuals and engage in the odd bit of improvised banter. He definitely became more entertaining as the show went on.

David Ayland started out with some local observations and quickly moved on to pop-culture. He was good but not great, not consistently funny but not cringe-worthily bad. Dorian Wainwright continued much in the same vain, though as a Politics student, there was a definite political theme. Unfortunately he didn’t use the opportunity to use comedy as a way to comment on current political affairs, but stuck to mocking politicians of days past. Wainwright seemed genuinely friendly and sincere.

Alice Weleminsky-Smith’s performance came across as quite rehearsed. She was funny at certain points but lacked spontaneity. She went straight for the awkward: an anecdote on her first kiss and another on talking to her parents about sex.

This is a show by university students and recent graduates talking about student life and concerns. This means that audiences of a similar age can certainly relate to the material, which for them makes it all the more funny. It may be less amusing for older generations.

The Birmingham Footnotes were generally good. Unlike some other amateur stand-up, there was no need for the audience to feel nervous for the comedians. They put on an entertaining show and may well be worth seeing as part of the Free Fringe. Having said that, this probably wasn’t the best stand-up I’ve seen this year.

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Patrick Galbraith

at 10:18 on 9th Aug 2014

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Birmingham Footnotes’ stand up showcase was free. Much to my disappointment, it confirmed that age-old proverb, “you get what you pay for”. It wasn’t comprehensively terrible, I think I laughed twelve or thirteen times but certainly not quite as much as the front row, who for some reason seemed duty-bound to laugh manically throughout.

The compere wandered onto the stage with his can of “Redstripe” (how young, how cool). He did little for the audience’s enthusiasm; we’d started the show at comedy square 1. Could things get much better? Well then came the next comedian and the answer in this case was “no”. He liked to wander around with the outline of a cardboard rectangle, and hold it in front of people to see whether it makes it appear like they’re on television. Yes, it was about as funny as it sounds.

The next performer, Dory Wainwright, did his very best to make up for the mediocrity which had characterised the show thus far. His material was really very good and his delivery was just slightly less good. This guy certainly has the potential to go it alone.

Next up was a man whose formula was simple: tell awful jokes. You get it? It’s comedy, it’s meant to be really funny and there he was telling really bad jokes. Thank God for Keith though, or rather, for the man who told everyone his name was Keith. This man, who turned up on account of the fact that he once lived in Birmingham, interjected relatively amusing stuff at every moment he could and just about kept the comedy afloat.

Last up was Alice Weleminsky – Smith, her self-deprecating jokes about falling in love at Synagogue aged twelve were really quite funny. Much like Mr Wainwright, though, the quality of her material far exceeded her delivery. Would I recommend you to take an hour out of a busy Fringe day to go and see it? No, I probably wouldn’t.

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