A Mercurial rise

Matt Rees takes Leicester new act title

Welsh comedian Matt Rees has won the 2012 Leicester Mercury comedian of the year award.

The 22-year-old, from Maesteg in South Wales, follows in the footsteps of Rhod Gilbert, Jason Manford, Johnny Vegas and Mitch Benn by taking the crown – and £1,000 top prize – on Saturday.

He said: ‘It was the toughest final I’ve been in. Everyone was incredibly talented. Some of my favourite comedians have won this competition  so I’m really  pleased to be part of it.’

Rees has a good track record in competitions. He had performed just two open spots when he entered the 2010 Chortle Student Comedy Award, and made that year’s final.

Last year he won the Welsh Unsigned Stand Up Award; and this year he has also won titles run b, both Leicester Square Theatre and Loaded magazine.

Also in Saturday’s Leicester final were Chris Turner, Darren Connell, Danny Sutcliffe, Richard Hanrahan, Joe Wells, Matt Rees and Liam Williams.

Meanwhile Shelley Bridgman – a 63-year-old who has been on the stand-up circuit for eight years mostly under the stage name Shelley Cooper –  won a separate Silver Comedy competition for the over-55s at Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival. She said: ‘The competition was very refreshing. It shows that your brain cells don’t die because you each a certain age. I hope winning this competition will let me take it up to another level and make comedy a career.’

  • Entries have opened for this year’s Welsh Unsigned Stand Up Award, which is open to anyone from the principality, or who has lived their for at least a year. The contest has a £1,000 top prize, plus paid gigs at The Glee Club in Cardiff, one of the sponsors. Click here for details.

Published: 19 Feb 2012

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