Best of Ull
After months of waiting I was finally able to attend one of the first events to be held at the new Bonus Arena Hull. Since my last visit the final details have been added to the arena and it looks good to go!
Being announced as one of the two test events, Hull Comedy Festival delivered an excellent evening’s entertainment. The cream of the crop of Hull comedians were hosted by the talented Jed Salisbury in quite possibly one of the best comedy events I’ve had the honour of attending.
Bombshells and Knitting
It’s a shame Jed didn’t get more time than he did. His tales of woeful experiences on Tinder and visits to the doctors warmed the crowd up, and raised the bar for the opening act to follow. After getting the crowd into a Mexican Wave he introduced our opening act for the evening, Steve Rimmer.
For those that don’t know Steve Rimmer, he has quite an interesting life. Some of us sit in an office, some work in a factory, Steve disarms bombs. Now I’m not sure which would be more terrifying really, trying to make 800 people laugh or trying to stop a bomb from blowing up. I know which one I would have even the slightest chance of doing with less disastrous results, however.
Steve’s act was great, he shared his experience in an entertaining way, with only the assistance of a powerpoint and some rather interesting images. One xray image will be implanted in my memory for way too long.
Hull’s favourite Bomb Disposal Expert’s time on stage came to a close with thunderous applause (without needing the aid of the thunder storm outside).
Jed was back on stage to introduce our second act of the night, Lois Mills. Lois’ brand of quirky humour was a great change of pace for the evening. Rather than relying purely on punch lines, her act brought a more physical presence to the comedy. Though it took a couple of minutes for the audience to adjust they soon warmed to her unique style of comedy.
One particular poem involving knitting and knitted characters in a knitted world will stay in my memory for quite some time. Her timing was excellent, and it was great to have a wide range of comedy styles presented to a considerably sized audience. Hopefully we will be able to see more of Lois in the future, as this was my first time of hearing of her (unfortunately!).
Braces, School Runs, and The Art Of Wasting Time
After a brief interval, allowing the bar and toilet facilities chance to be tested by the large audience, we were back to business. Jed returned again to introduce the next batch of entertainment. Three excellent comedians graced the stage, and one of them stole the show completely.
We were greeted with some more great comedy from the excellent David Smith. His stories of life in Hull brought laughter to an expectant crowd. One particular story regarding his hair and the effects the wind has on it was hilarious, with a bit of an unexpected dark twist.
Also in the second set of comedians was the ever-funny Gary Jennison. In an entrance wrestler HHH would have been proud of, Gary snuck in from the doors at the back of the room. His entrance was amazing, though I do feel for the people covered in mist-spit water at the other end of the stage to me. I’m not sure they were expecting that! With expert comedic timing, and expert use of time in his act, he entertained from start to finish.
If there’s one thing Gary can do better than any comedian I’ve seen is make the limited time he has on stage part of his act. Using audience members going to the toilets or bar as yet more ways to build up the joke was brilliant.
The remaining act in this section was the show-stealer. Jack Gleadow entered the stage and almost immediately had the audience in hysterics as he tripped over a speaker. Normally this would have been a disaster for a comedian, but it fitted his character perfectly.
Jack, the one your mum warned you about, had the audience in the palm of his hand from the moment he began. His creative use of music in his act worked flawlessly with his own brand of audience participation. Two poor audience members helped him act out some great scenes, including a certain iconic Titanic moment. If it wasn’t enough to be dragged on stage once, the two same men were brought up on stage for the finale of his act. I have never expected to be crying with laughter at two men smacking their rear-ends to the word “bum” before. I certainly won’t be able to listen to Mr Sandman by The Chordettes the same way again.
Jack Gleadow is definitely one to watch out for in the future, he has a bright career ahead of him. If you get chance to see his performances in the future you’ll not regret it one bit.
After one final interval it was time for the headline act. Dan Skinner’s ever-popular Angelos Epithemiou entered the stage of the Bonus Arena to rapturous applause. Wearing his trademark drab outfit, completed by a badly fitting tie, and carrying his orange bag of tricks, Angelos greeted the Hull audience.
Of course the first thing everyone wanted to know was what Angelos had in his bag. One item I cannot mention to maintain the PG status of this article. The other item was a stick. Not just any stick of course, but one he stole from a blind man. The man apparently didn’t seem bothered, but his dog wasn’t as happy about it!
Angelos’ act involved such trickery as being able to speak to the dead, and even do celebrity impersonations, when the audience finally picked the right celebrity for him to impersonate, of course.
Not only did he impersonate Chris Eubank, after understandably mishearing a request for Cher, but the legendary Angelos brought Elvis back from the grave.
It’s hard to write about Angelos’ performance because a large part of his performance is adapted to fit the mood and the energy of the audience. He really has to be seen live to really get why his entertainment is so great. Hopefully the amazing welcome and response he got from the Hull crowd will encourage him to pay another visit to the area in the not-so-distant future, though I’m not sure he wants to visit “Beverleys” for a coffee (again, you had to be there on the night).
It was great to see the Bonus Arena, Hull, welcoming the public in its second test event. Naturally the staff were still getting used to their new roles, and very minor issues (such as longer than expected queues for drinks) will be ironed out before the arrival of Van Morrison. None of the minor issues caused any real problems for the audience, and they all seemed to understand that a lot of the new staff were still training.
If this is the quality of performance to expect from the Bonus Arena then it’s exactly what Hull has been begging for, and deserving, for many years. I’d like to say thank you to everyone involved at the Arena and I can’t wait to visit again!
Not even the terrible weather could stop people leaving with huge smiles on their faces.
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