I’d not been to a Glee Club evening before, and that’s part of the reason for checking one out. The vibe is a bit different from the sometimes chaotic feel of a Just The Tonic show, with an annoying MC getting people psyched up for the acts with the saccharine-sinister vibe of a gameshow host.
Compere Matt Reed did a good job at baiting the audience into life with predictable but effective stuff to stoke regional rivalries and winkle out any foreigners in the audience for singling out. It’s not quite as UKIP rally as that sounds, but that’s how they get the punters warmed up in comedy – as with football, where you’re from counts.
While Matt’s doing that, he’s laying the law down too, which is mostly about telling people to shut up while the acts are doing their thing. He’s right – how often do you ever hear a good heckle at a show? Matt’s there in part to soak up the abuse…let people heckle him, and he’ll soak it up so the headliners don’t have their acts spoiled. It’s a tough job, and Matt handles it well.
The three acts were all new to me, and I’ll concentrate on the two that made the biggest impact. Zoe Lyons makes sly capital of being a Brighton lesbian – she plays with the stereotypical expectations the audience has, and manages both to send them up and confirm them. Somewhere along the line Zoe make a gear shift and reminisces about being taught by nuns. It wasn’t a happy time. Humour is a way of turning that misery and fury into something that can be shared with an audience. And it’s not just nuns that get stick. Zoe recalls confession, which was essentially being locked in a wardrobe with a priest, and wondering if she should have asked whether he’d got anything he needed to get off his chest. It’s a powerful moment, the groundwork nicely prepared so the audience are sure just what she means by that innocuous sounding question.
Mick Ferry is an enigma. He comes on stage looking like an old school tubby comedian with a haircut that’s part Peaky Blinders, part Flock of Seagulls. Quickly, he establishes his working class roots to bond with and rain abuse on some of the audience – he targets a white guy with dreadlocks, and makes short shrift of someone whose job title of acquisitions manager is a short route to low hanging comedy fruit. Then things take a turn for the abstract, and Mick turns the persona he’s created inside-out to muse on what he does at the prompting of his internal voices…like breaking into the polar bear cage at a zoo, anally pleasuring one of the animals with his fingers while kids looking on tell him he’s feeding it wrong. Top entertainment, all round.
Glee Club Foodie Friday was on Friday 18 August 2017.