Snigger Happy at the 2010 Brighton Fringe

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

Comedy at 4pm on a school day? Well, the five young Turks of Snigger Happy still managed drummed up a decent audience for their midweek Brighton Fringe shows, even if it might not have had the perfect timeslot for the requisite gags about rape and paedophiles that feature in some of these rookie comics’ arsenals.

Opening act Paul Langton had quite a chunk about how his moustache, clearly grown for comedy purposes, made him look like a sex offender, or a cross between a couple of celebrities, as is de rigueur for any new stand-up thinking of their first joke. Then he’s not one to push the boat out in terms of material, although his assertions that politically correctness has gone mad, all new bands sound the same and young people dress funny make him seem like a reactionary young fogey.

Despite the safe, familiar observations, he comes across as sort of likeable, with an exaggerated stage confidence that would stand him in good stead in an MC’s role. His manner is so deliberate that you’re never in any doubt this is a rehearsed performance, rather than a natural conversation, but he just about pulls it off.

Philip Wilson has a much more intriguing stage presence. Haggard, slightly sinister looking, he oozes strange menace as he declares he has ‘unusual hobbies’. It’s a persona that seems half a century out of time; with his characterful features and careful enunciation, he’s the sort of comedic creep who wouldn’t be out of place in a black Ealing comedy.

Unfortunately, his material doesn’t fully capitalise on his intriguing manner. The ‘unusual hobby’ turns out to be the lambada, and he leads the audience, and a blow-up sex doll, through some lessons. It’s modestly entertaining, but from such a strong first impression, we hope for more.

Baby-faced Alex Love references Star Wars, how shit his neighbourhood – Walthamstow – is and the unwritten rules of dating. Same old same old, really; though his smiley manner is engaging and there is one or two good lines en route. But he’s memorable only for a stunt that is a deliberate disappointment, which is probably not the best impression to leave.

Pretty and perky, Josie Wicks bounds onto the stage with the excitable energy of a five-year-old who’s just downed her first triple espresso. The sense of fun transmits easily to the audience, spreading instant cheer. It’s something of a fig-leaf for the absence of material, though, which comprised little more than a bit of twisted ‘where are you from?’ banter that unfortunately is not original, and a sweet little story about photo booths. Her set is a comedic Red Bull: she’ll make you feel enlivened, but don’t look too closely at what’s in it…

In the age-old tradition of saving the best till last, Luke Thompson made a strong first impression, with a cocky but underplayed opening aside, which set up a coolly assured poise he maintained for the whole short set. He has a slightly surreal brain, too, making for some enjoyable surprises in the material, even when talking about subjects as potentially hackneyed as doubting whether electronic devices really interfere with plane’s navigation systems. He tends to stick to such familiar subjects, but adds just enough flair of his own to suggest a promising future once he expands his comic horizons just that little bit further.

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Published: 23 May 2010



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