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Amused Moose LaughOff 2010 Grand Final

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Julia Chamberlain

The finals of any comedy competition always have a buzz and sense of occasion, this one was no exception.  Seven finalists were offered, with Stephen K Amos as compere and delightful Gareth Richards to close.  After a late start, the afternoon cracked along with barely a dip.

It’s always a tough call to open but Rich Heap rose to the occasion with the best gags of the afternoon and a quietly assured performance.  If he had picked up his pace by a homeopathic amount, he would certainly have been a contender for a placing, as it was it was a gig to be proud of. 

Next off the block was Mark Restuccia, who was competent and polished with some dark sexual material which seemed to be a bit much for the audience.  His professionalism might have told against him as he was the most ‘like a comic’ when the competition preference seemed to run in favour of youthful energy over craft.

Liam Williams had a great voice, smart gags and a great sense of being right in the moment and picked up a joint runner-up place, and a serious challenger to the eventual winner Rob Beckett.

Beckett had youthful energy in spades and a distinctive but uncontrived look with his white blond hair and megawatt smile.   It was an impressive performance, he ripped through his set at breakneck speed warning the audience to keep up, a great trick to make them think they’re having even more fun than they actually are.  

By contrast Romesh Ranganathan’s success derived from his authoritative, measured delivery, his material was personalised dealing with issues of race without tripping into cliché. He earned the other runner-up place. Probably the newest of the finalists here, he would benefit from relaxing and enjoying his own performance, as his seriousness made him a bit ponderous on the delivery.

Leon Scott had an immense presence, vigorous and imposing, though he needs a small amount of work on his diction as a couple of phrases lacked clarity  and his material on football, ID fraud and menacing your way to a seat on the train was obviously the work of a newbie, but material can be come by with work and he was impressively confident.

Last but not least, Dubliner Rory O’Hanlon made an entertaining and assured closer for the competitive part of the afternoon.  He covered a couple of old standards – the ferocity of Customs in the US, and some ginger jokes – but those came with enough of a spin not to be groan inducing.

Stephen K Amos glided through the afternoon with typical smoothness, pretending, probably, to mock the sponsor and promoting his own new series. The audience loved his  elegant bonhomie. A couple of times he might have had undue influence on the audience vote by showing his approval or otherwise for a competitor’s  routine – everyone should get a positive comment or no one on these occasions, make it fair!  The afternoon wrapped with a delightful performance of easy-listening comedy from Gareth Richards.

It was a promising afternoon for comedy, nothing hyperbolic and, with an even field of players, all the better for it.

Review date: 24 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Julia Chamberlain

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