Barnstormers Comedy Club – Live Review – Junction Goole

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By Kirsty Reid, November 2021

It’s pretty much a full house at Junction, Goole, as MC Kevin Precious walks on stage to greet those who braved Storm Arwen for an evening of live entertainment.

Each month, Barnstormers Comedy Club takes over the small market town’s rather impressive arts centre to present a host of top-notch talent and, after watching September’s gig, I couldn’t wait to see what was in store this time around.

“We’ve had an act cancel on us last minute,” MC Precious explains, much to the audience’s dismay, “But don’t worry, we’ve got a replacement – he was on Live at the Apollo recently.” Straightaway the level of talent here becomes apparent. Goole might be small, but the acts Barnstormers bring are anything but.

Originating in East Sussex, Barnstormers have been presenting stand-up shows since 2001. Notable acts to grace the club’s stage over the years include Sarah Millican, Andy Parsons, Lucy Porter and Rob Rouse to name a few.

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MC Kevin Precious and Scott Bennett

“Natural stage presence”

With the line-up change announced, MC Precious turns his focus to the crowd – with the front row becoming an obvious target for comic engagement. A master of audience interaction and comedy improvisation, his probing questions soon have everyone roaring. Poking fun at a guy wearing a doo rag, another in a rather fluorescent T-shirt and a woman that bore an uncanny resemblance to a character from Last of the Summer Wine.

Next up is acerbic storyteller Scott Bennett (the evening’s replacement act), “I’ll always do a gig in Goole,” admits the Nottingham-based stand-up. “It keeps me grounded. It reminds me I must work harder.” Sharing anecdotes about married life (“Jemma and I have now been married a while. Fifteen years to be precise, or two mattresses as I like to think of it”) and being outnumbered by the women in his home (even his cat is female).

The dad-of-two’s topical and relatable subject matter makes him a hit with the crowd. But his biggest laughs come courtesy of his Covid gags – from hiding behind his shed during lockdown to his joy at schools finally being reopened. Bennett has a natural stage presence and knows how to work a crowd.

Life in lockdown also provides plenty of material for Steve Allen – the next act of the evening. The stand-up, presenter and writer works the stage with ease, as he recounts how he did “really well” throughout the UK’s numerous lockdowns.

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Steve Allen and Tony Burgess

“Pushing the boundary”

Allen does a rather convincing Boris Johnson impression as he shares his triumphs during what was a challenging time for many – from nabbing all the loo roll to getting hitched with just 15 guests (the best time to do it, apparently). Other subject matter includes the annoyances of being tall and Alzheimer’s disease.

Last, but by no means least, Tony Burgess takes to the stage. “If you’re wondering where my accent’s from, it’s from sniffing helium,” the squeaky Northern quips, before launching into a foul-mouthed set poking fun at everything from salt-and-shake crisps, drugs and raves to growing up in a Catholic household. Some of his references are lost on the younger audience members, but – judging from the laughs – for the most part, he is bang on the money. As his jokes grow dirtier, the laughs grow louder and Burgess laps this up – pushing the boundary without being too vulgar.

Sadly, tonight’s show was the last at Junction for a while, but Barnstormers will be back on Saturday 29th January 2022 with a new line-up and plenty of laughs.

Check out their website for the next gig: www.barnstormerscomedy.com

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