Holy Trinity

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Steve Bennett

Gimmicks aside – one Catholic, one Muslim and one Jew sharing a bill – there’s plenty to enjoy in this showcase of relatively new comedy talent.

Whip-sharp MC Ben Van Der Velde (the Jew) makes a lively and impish host, relentlessly spouting out spontaneous comments about the snow, the pub venue and the audience as he flits around the area where the stage should be, had the gig invested in any sort of elevation.

It’s something of a brain spew, ideas and observations gushing out almost uncontrollably, but despite the lack of focus, his hit rate is impressive, while his in-the-moment style creates a buzz of excitement in the room.

When he returns to close the show, his prepared routine isn’t half as impressive as his compering, though a few memorable lines and ideas stand out. It’s all perfectly acceptable material about toilet graffiti, bungee jumping, suicide bombers and magic mushrooms but doesn’t share the air of mischievous mayhem that his freeform banter has. He could do with finding a way to combine the spontaneous with the written, Ross Noble-style, but until he does, he makes for a life-giving compere.

Catholic Andrew Doyle has largely slipped under the new act radar, with his greatest achievement to date being named runner-up in the apparently genuine North Essex New Comedian Of The Year 2008 Award. Wow! The second-best comedian to emerge last year from half a county..

But that faint-praise accolade does him no favours. He’s a smart cookie in the sarcastic, know-it-all vein of Stewart Lee, but with a style of his own. The performance is assured, perfectly timed and naturally charming, allowing him to dole out some hard-edged material on everything from racism to Karen Matthews with a smile, not a sneer. There’s a good bunch of quietly impressive stuff here, in both content and delivery.

Somalian Muslim Joleed Farah seems the least experienced of the lot, but although inconsistent, there are some promising ideas in his low-key set.

If anything, he’s a bit too quiet, and could do with injecting some life into the delivery to bolster some of the more mundane material about STDs and oral sex. As you might expect, he also tries to upturn some of the stereotypes associated with his ethnicity, from minicab drivers to terrorist, with mixed results.

He comes into his own with an enjoyable and insightful routine about the image that relentless Comic Relief-style campaigning paints of his entire home continent, and a smattering of sharp original lines elsewhere suggest an act with a future.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Leicester Comedy Festival, February 2009

Review date: 1 Jan 2009
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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