Review: Cathedral Of Comedy at Newcastle Castle
Cathedral of Comedy – Newcastle Cathedral
20th May 2023
I have to say that that was probably the most unique comedy experience I have ever had. I am used to visiting The Stand and seeing stand up performances in more traditional venues but having the Lord Jesus Christ on the stage while comedians are effing and jeffing their way through their sets is a new one on me. One must consider what would Jesus think?
Nevertheless, once you get past the opulent surroundings adorned with the usual accoutrement of a religious building then this is very much a community event with lots of laughs, local traders selling a variety of eats and drinks and some technical wizardry to make this challenging space a suitable venue for a comedy night.
Hosting the evening was the very competent Glasgow born comedian and writer, Joe Heenan whose banter with the audience eases them effectively, if a little caustically, into an evening of the excellent comedy that is to follow. There are three acts with two comedians in acts one and two and a headline act to finish the evening in style.
While I will talk about the comedians in turn, comedy is very subjective and while I did have an out and out favourite of the evening, this particular comedian simply made me laugh the most. The near capacity crowd laughed through each of the turns with the warmth and generosity people have come to expect from a North East crowd.
Heenan first introduced local favourite Gavin Webster who gave the audience his take on North East life in his usual style. There is something very comforting if a little old fashioned about this very likeable comedian I have seen before in other venues in the region. There is no doubt that he has a loyal following and opened the acts very well indeed.
Next up was another local comedian I have also seen before in the form of Lauren Pattison. I always enjoy Lauren’s warm but self-deprecating style as she relives her life in London and her utter joy and love of all things Newcastle. Her warmth was certainly appreciated by the audience this evening.
Following a short break came my favourite of the evening, fresh from a tour in Australia, we were welcomed to enjoy the stories and observations of the young but clearly accomplished comedian, Connor Burns. Burns tackled some rather challenging material including why men can have it more difficult than women with deft ease. Connor is appearing in the area again soon as he tests out his new material destined for The Edinburgh Fridge Festival at the Cumberland Arm on Sunday 11th June. After tonight’s performance, I have no hesitation in recommending that anyone gets along to see this very likeable and rather naughty comedian.
Lou Sanders was next up to close out act two and her past catalogue of appearances on TV and at comedy clubs up and down the country is very impressive indeed. Of all the acts this evening, she seemed the most ill at ease in the venue and I felt that the audience sensed this from the moment she appeared.
Finally, our compere introduced the headline act, the very funny Grimsby born comedian, singer, and impressionist Lloyd Griffith. I think one of the reasons that Griffith is so funny is in the surprises that he brings to his act so to describe his set would be to spoil it – so I am not going to. This man isclearly the whole package and offers something traditional alongside some amazing talents away from the field of comedy which he effortless interweaves into his set and had the audience this evening applauding wildly at the conclusion.
I cannot leave this beautiful building without talking about the event management which was as friendly as it was efficient from the lovely bar staff at the two bars, to the warm welcome received by the ushers at the entrance and the stalls providing food of which I did not partake, but looked absolutely beautiful and would grace any high-end farmer’s market or food festival. I almost wished I had not eaten before I arrived.
I spoke with Jo Cowell, a freelance sound technician extraordinaire who tackled the many problems posed by such a large and echoey venue with solutions that meant every word spoken was heard from where I was sitting. I can only doff my cap to Jo and applaud wildly on a job well done.
The Cathedral of Comedy events happen regularly at Newcastle Cathedral and if tonight was anything to go by thenyou will not want to miss the next one in September. Also look out for other events at Newcastle Cathedral which offer something for absolutely everyone.
– Stephen Stokoe
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