Salford University has produced some incredible performers over the years (Need I mention Peter Kay, Jason Manford and Ben Kingsley?).
Recently they showcased the talent of the Comedy module for their Performance courses at The Frog and Bucket. The night was a combination of first time performers and experienced acts, most of whom are in their final year of Salford University’s Comedy Writing and Performance Course .
The term “Student” definitely doesn’t describe some of the night’s acts, of whom have the craft, stage presence and charm of a true pro and would have been indistinguishable from the pro compere James Meehan. Even the first time performers showed pure potential and glimpses of star quality.
Meehan, by the way, did an incredible job of hosting the night, ensuring the audience were as lovely as possible to the newcomers.
Kicking off the night was one of the course’s more experienced comics-Tony Wright.
A solid opening act; Tony Wright was a wonderful start to the evening’s showcase. His set is very well crafted, delivering fresh material with cheekiness and charm. His witty remarks flow well within his personal anecdotes, combining into a delightful start to start the evening.
Bexie Archer was up next. Archer’s graphic content was somehow charismatic as, dressed up as a christmas tree, she giggled her way through the set. The innocence of her performance worked well in contrast to the very mature themes such as porn and feminism at hand. I never thought I’d find a Christmas Tree relatable, yet as I was sat there I couldn’t help but acknowledge the little truths within her set.
Following Bexie Archer was the fabulous Tommy King. Tommy King’s stage presence soon got the audience on his side. His set was structured smoothly with light hearted material balancing out a few of the darker gags. The references to his hometown and childhood created a personal feel, allowing the audience to instantly engage. A natural performer and an incredibly enjoyable act.
Vicky Sarsfield provided us with a strong performance, delivering quality content. Straightforward, likeable yet unique. A crowd-pleaser full of potential to end the first part of the night.
Opening part two was Emerald Hill, who continued the night’s consistent supply of amusement. This quirky Canadian provided us with a solid and engaging routine from start to finish. Next was Teej Jackson. Teej was brilliantly hilarious and brought with him a different vibe from the other acts, however his risky material cost him the audience near the end of his set. Using his wit and ending gags, he managed to save himself- but only just. That being said, there was something incredibly watchable about him.
Restoring the lighthearted and upbeat atmosphere was Abi Bowen who definitely knew the audience she was playing to; a largely student crowd who all knew the local taxi rank far too well. A delightful, cheery act that led nicely onto Will Andrews. Will’s self-deprecation combined with cheeky naivety allows the audience to simply adore him. A truly great act, with a flair of capability and promise.
The final part of the evening began with Fraser Wilson, who gets a little bit more creative with the mic than the previous acts. He uses the stage to its full potential and as he skips up and down, he lifts the energy in the room. His enthusiasm enthuses the audience themselves as they go along with his boyish charm.
The penultimate act, Hannah Dunstall was superbly paced and like her prop joke book, really well crafted. Her use of dark humour is done well and her risks pay off as she articulates punchy jokes with confidence.
Drawing the night to a close; James Allen.
James Allen, calm and reserved yet brilliantly whimsical. His laid-back, clearly confident approach completely commands the audience, his dry humour working entirely in his favour. Allen is in no rush, and the room follows as he delivers every single word with purpose and ease. He quickly gains complete control as he takes his time, leaving the audience in awe.
A marvelous end to a quality night at The Frog and Bucket.