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Duncan Oakley with Jonathon Mayor, Ian Moore and Ste Porter at the Laugh Inn, Chester

11th February 2011

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Upon first sight, the only indication to this industrial tin shack being open to the public is a single, poorly lit, neon sign advertising it as Chester’s new venue for a variety of some of the most hilarious comedians.

Entering “Homer‘s Bar,” the overwhelming sleazy jazz, dimmed lights and seductive purple colourings surround a generous bar area, cabaret-style tables and a corner stage on which you would not be surprised to see a scantly clad woman expecting notes to be popped into her panties. Homer’s Bar is still engulfed in the smell of the new wooden bar-top but its decoration and well-planned seating arrangements provide a relaxed atmosphere.

Forget any sign of scantly clad women, tonight’s compere, the hysterical Jonathon Mayor, opens the night by camping it up and introduces himself as a “fat Gok Wan” with the “voice of Alan Carr.” He shows remarkable talent as he uses sheer quick wit, abusing his homoerotic tendencies in such a way that it is jaw-achingly funny. Using those around him as the basis for his side-splitting act, he does not fail in his mission to have the crowd crying with laughter throughout his performance.

Ian Moore’s deadpan delivery of humour, based on topics that simply irritate him and his mundane observations of day-to-day life manifesting into the hysterical sardonic line he builds up to, stirred the crowd into a frenzy of hysteria. He is a polished performer completely at ease with the audience and appears. His sarcastic, dry comments provide an act to rival those of the great Jack Dee. Watch your back, Jack!

Young Liverpudlian, Ste Porter, stepped up to the mark as the second act of the night. Porter was a completely pleasant surprise delivering true tales with a spark of comic genius, which left the crowd rolling on the floor with laughter. His anecdotes of child-hood are ones to which the audience can relate and his one-liners had a brilliant reaction from the maddening crowd.

Cheeky chap, Duncan Oakley was the final act of the night. In the way of Tim Minchin, Oakley performs a majority of his jokes through song such as the immaturely comical “Girl with a Bum for a Face’” He talks of booze and sex more than the average teen, and his mischievous charm gives him a loveable, crowd-pleasing stage presence. His punch lines fly faster than fists in a bar-room-brawl and no matter how daft, and sometimes obvious his jokes are, he never failed to keep the audience grinning ear to ear. Oakley is clearly not a one trick pony performing his gags simply through rehearsed song as he proved by his spontaneous witty heckling of one unlucky member of the audience who simply needed the toilet. He has been described as ‘comedy dynamite’ and was clearly the most outstanding performer of the three; an excellent entertainer and musical/comedy genius well worth seeing!

As Jonathon Mayor himself proclaims: “It’s already got a fabulous reputation, ” so don’t hesitate to get down there, support the Inn and keep the laughter rolling.


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