Comedy Cellar – Review – Lawrence Batley Theatre
By @Steve Crabtree, August 2017
The Huddersfield Comedy Cellar attracts its fair share of well-known names on the circuit, and tonight we’ve got a couple more recognisable chaps for an evening of laughter and hilarity as they prepare to take their acts to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Lee Ridley is Lost Voice Guy. He won the BBC New Comedy award in 2014, which propelled him in to the limelight. And that was quite an achievement, because – as you might guess by the name of his act – Lee Ridley can’t talk. He suffers from cerebral palsy, and conducts his act using an electronic tablet. This is something that intrigues me, but also mystifies me a little bit as to how he can actually make this act work.
But after the fantastic resident compere Anthony J. Brown gets things going with the intimate and cosy gathering of comedy fans, he introduces Lost Voice Guy to the stage.
He kicks off with a video showcasing the plight of Paralympians, and other heroes with a disability. His electronic tablet kicks in half way through, and his act begins – giving a jovial take on why there are many other disabled heroes who aren’t well known, and are probably branded as lazy.
Lost Voice Guy “talks” about his “accent” which raises a laugh amongst everyone. If you can imagine a cross between Stephen Hawking and Siri, then you’ve got the voice. And the use of the tablet’s voice works remarkably well – it delivers dry lines and sarcasm perfectly, as Lost Voice Guy utilises his body language as the tablet makes light of his disability and his love life. The crowd like him, out of both humour and utmost respect. It’s a funny, and a very clever act – nicely put together and I’m not mystified any more. On the contrary; I’m glad to witness something so different.
After a short interval, the second main act of the evening is Andy Wilky, from Phoenix Nights fame. Remember the guy who went an entire series with a tiger painted on to his face? Well, it’s him.
He’s a comic of 22 years standing, and was in the Ken Loach film “Looking For Eric”. He bounces up to the stage, full of energy, and it’s immediate that he’s a seasoned pro. You can tell in the way he deals with a heckler front row, centre; and utilises his Mancunian accent which, for me, always adds to dead-pan humour.
He makes himself laugh too, even if you’re not supposed to laugh at your own jokes (nothing wrong with that…I do it all the time…!). But it adds to the act, and is part and parcel of his likable character.
“Great little venue”
Wilky tells us a few life stories which has people roaring with laughter, and he has a lot to say about his family too. One of the highlights is his son calling him halfway through his set and asking if he’ll be able to get a lift home from him tonight.
He won’t be, though – as tonight, both sets are an hour long. And although very funny are probably about 20 minutes too long. To their credit, both comics acknowledge this too – but in essence it’s a rehearsal for their Edinburgh Fringe turn, and it has to be padded out a little. Safe to say, those at the Fringe are in for a couple of good shows.
We’ve had a fun night, in a great little venue, watching some great acts. If you’ve been to see comedy acts, but not in intimate venues, then give the Comedy Cellar at the Lawrence Batley Theatre a whirl.
The Comedy Cellar is in The Syngenta Cellar at Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield every second Thursday at 8pm, every month from September 14. For tickets visit: thelbt.org