By Mike Jones
IT is always encouraging to see a business trying out a new venture and offer fresh entertainment into the area.
Orsett Hall has introduced a new comedy evening over the last few months in the wonderfully appointed Pavilion Room.
This venue is nicely set out with a small stage appropriately lit and a good friendly feel to the place. It is good value as well with three comedians on the bill plus a disco,if you so wish, for just £12 or £10 if you are a comedy club member.
Comedy is a fickle thing and we all have our own favourites. We can now witness comedians performing in massive arenas, which can work well but this is on the more intimate scale where the comedian can see the whites of the audiences’ eyes. It goes without saying that it is bad timing to go to the toilet/bar/escape because you will be abused by the comic.
So, warm up man John Ryan instantly had the audience in the palm of his hand and it was obvious that this guy was a seasoned pro. He didn’t actually tell any jokes but used observational comedy which I love and worked the room well and delivered a sense of anticipation about the upcoming acts which is what he is supposed to do.
The wonderfully named Otto Canneloni approached the stage with a large carpet bag which remained untouched for some considerable time and this sight gag worked well, as the audience wondered “what was in the bag”. It is very difficult to watch a new comedian and not compare them to someone you know well. In this particular case for me the act brought some resemblance in style to Milton Jones. What was in the bag were a few magic tricks which Otto delivered deliberately badly and achieved his goal of making people laugh.
The beauty of the comedy club is that it gives the chance for new or unknown comics to trade their wares in front of a reasonably large audience and of course the risk is they can have the room in fits or they can die on their feet. All of today’s top arena sellout comedians have died on their feet at sometime during their career and that’s the business.
Headliner John Newton struggled. He tried really hard to work the audience and in his defence had some success but the night was not his and along with Otto didn’t really set the room on fire. Perhaps we were a difficult audience, if there is such as a thing, and I’m sure on another night both these comedians are capable of producing a good act.
There are many more comedy nights planned at Orsett Hall and I really hope they work well for all concerned. It was an enjoyable evening, however, and this reviewer would certainly go back for more! I feel it will really establish itself in the very near future as a top venue for comedy in Thurrock.