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Student comedy awards 2005

London Central heat

Symon Garner has become the second new stand-up to make the final of Chortle’s student comic award

The third year media and performance student at Salford University triumphed in the second regional heat in Manchester last night.

He joins Paul Byrne, winner of the first London heat, on the line-up for the final in the capital in April.

The contestants in this heat, held by Manchester’s Laugh Out Loud comedy society, were:

Adam Bowman (Manchester Metropolitan): A self-confessed geek with smart, if unadventurous material, entertainingly delivered.

Damion Larkin (Salford): Trying out the Daniel Kitson look, Larkin boldly tried a more spontaneous set, engagingly recounting a tale that had literally happened to him in the last 24 hours, but it lacked focus or gags. Audience banter proved more successful, though.

Tony Richardson (Manchester): An accomplished, eloquent act by turns sneery and surreal with some very impressive gags, well delivered. A strong contender.

Simon O’Keefe (Unviversity College, Dublin): An impressively quirky set, sometimes punny, sometimes more straightforwardly anecdotal, but probably a little too quietly told to extract the best response from this fine material.

Rhiannon Kemp (Salford): A chatty, pigeon-obsessed act, this Welshwoman didn’t quite formulate her oddball thoughts into actual jokes, so even if the imagery was sporadically amusing, it couldn’t gel into a substantial set.

Christoph Lovell (Central Lancaster): The audience didn’t buy into his somewhat confused take on the consequences of the male contraceptive pill and hormone patches, as he needs more clarity of vision, and the ability to think beyond the obvious comments to fork a joke.

Luisa Omeilon (Salford): Clearly inexperienced, especially as a writer, Omeilon needs to look beyond smear tests and Posh Spice to find material that feels fresher.

Symon Garner (Salford): With an exaggeratedly jittery and depraved  delivery, Garner enlivens his act with sheer nervous energy which – mixed with some neat gags – makes for an impressive set.

Vincent Peters (Manchester Metropolitan): Depending on which of his contradictory statements you believed, this was apparently his first gig ever, which explains the appalling microphone technique and offputting pacing of the stage. The rambling, pointless, jokeless comments about defunct TV shows or motivational speakers suggest he hasn’t seen much comedy, either.

Peter von Natzmer (Manchester): Another impressive act, this German comic predictably enough promises ‘proper, efficient comedy’ – and that’s exactly what we get; sharply-observed comments on the stupidity of our language, mainly, but plenty more besides.

Steve Bennett
February 8, 2005

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