Barnstormers – Pete Selwood, Steve Day, Sarah Adams, Tony Vino – Live Review – Junction Goole
By Kirsty Reid, May 2023
I’m not sure if it’s the sun, the booze, or the fact that it’s Barnstormers final show of the season, but the crowd is buzzing before we’re even seated.
Taking over Goole’s impressive arts centre, the comedy club promises a host of top-notch talent each month – and it never disappoints. Though not quite a full house, the hyped-up theatregoers more than make up for any shortfall, as MC Kevin Precious struts out on stage to greet those who decided ‘not to stay home and have a BBQ’.
‘It’s good to be back, Goole,’ he says, in his first of many appearances this evening. A master of audience interaction, Precious wastes no time priming the receptive crowd for the acts that follow – with the front row becoming an obvious target for comic engagement.
Precious, a former religious studies teacher, is quick to mock a retired primary school educator. The laughs come in thick and fast as he goes on to share his thoughts on religion, alongside tales from his teaching days.
For reasons unknown to me, Pete Selwood has less success with the crowd. Born with only one hand, the comedian pokes fun at his disability almost immediately, and garners a few chuckles. With a swagger that’s just the right side of cockiness, the affable comedian shares his experience of lockdown – not the best time to move in with a partner, apparently – and becoming a father.
His wry storytelling and sharp observations are a hit with my dad and I – though some of his anecdotes are clearly lost on the older generation. ‘I should’ve read the room,’ Selwood admits. ‘That’s on me.’ But the quick-thinking Yorkshireman soon has the audience on side, quipping, ‘Don’t worry, I get paid all the same.’
Next up is Steve Day (top image, left). By far my favourite act of the evening. A natural-born performer, Day has the audience hanging on his every word. Describing himself as Britain’s only deaf comedian (if there are others, he hasn’t heard), Day’s sharp one-liners go down a treat.
Lockdown also provides plenty of material for the father-of-five, as he pokes fun at misunderstandings caused by mask-wearing. Nothing is off limits when it comes to Day’s disability, as he admits he’ll happily ‘deaf it up’ for a well-paying gig.
Sarah Adams is this evening’s bonus act – and what a bonus! Armed with a fluffy notebook, seemingly packed with well-written jokes, the try-out comedian is hilarious from start to finish.
Adams has the room roaring almost instantly with her topical material. I expect to see big things from the circuit newcomer.
Consistently funny, Tony Vino (top image, right) is the fourth and final act of the evening. Fusing observational humour with audience interaction, Vino’s set has something for everyone.
An anecdote about the cost of the theatre tickets, sees eight theatregoers dragged up on stage to imitate a scene from The Lion King. Themed music, a toy lion and confetti blasters add to the hilarious theatrics.
It’s fair to say Barnstormers went out with a bang this season, but the comedy club will be back at Junction come September – and so will I.