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Comedy review: Hyde Park Winter Wonderland Comedy Club


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For the first time in its history, Winter Wonderland is hosting a comedy club and it boasts a star-studded line up with reasonably-priced tickets. I went along to check it out and I left full of wonder; wondering why I missed the chance to go on one last ride for this 45-minute show.

The venue is a traditional, grand circus tent in keeping with the carnivalesque feel of Winter Wonderland and it’s also practical because of the circus performances that are on throughout the month. Immediately the space felt too big to fill with laughs, which was further amplified by the number of empty seats in the audience.  Even the Christmas tree that had been plonked on the stage (probably as an afterthought) seemed totally lost. When our compare, Tom Lucy, came onto the stage he looked teeny-tiny. 

Image courtesy of Hyde Park Winter Wonderland Comedy Club

However, his dry sense of humour was well-received in this huge space and he warmed the audience up nicely. He asked generic questions about who had travelled the farthest, what jobs people had, and talked about Christmas, with just enough sarcasm that makes him likeable. He got the audience anticipating a pleasant evening, even if we weren’t quite belly-laughing yet. 

Frankly, from here it’s all a bit haphazard.

Next onto the stage was Keith Farnan, who gave a family-focused set interspersed with interrogations of the audience. It felt a little unstructured and the punchlines of his anecdotes fell short considering the amount of time that was dedicated to them. He tried incredibly hard to be relatable, but it didn’t quite land and some of his content - such as saying he married a Jew just so he can say the word Jew - is questionable and cheap. 

Another brief stint from Lucy, and then Terry Alderton is welcomed to the stage.

Terry Alderton is a truly unique character who stretches the boundaries of traditional stand-up comedy. His set was filled with singing, dancing, audience participation, soundbites, accents, and lots of him and the ‘voice in his head’ conversing with one another. From a technical perspective, it was well-executed.

However, this was all done in around 15 minutes so it was A LOT to take in. It meant that some of the elements of his set felt forced and simply didn’t make sense in the wider context of the performance. His accents, for example, were included for no particular reason other than poking fun, which is just outdated and seems lazy. At one point, he started dancing and chanting ‘Brexit’, and this was when the performance passed the point of no return and I wanted to go home.

The three entertainers don’t particularly complement one another and I left thinking the comedy was full of pretty cheap shots and overall a bewildering experience. The shining light in all of this was Rick Rye, who sat front row in this dizzying performance and was picked on by all three acts. He was a great sport, despite being called a drug dealer, a shit superhero, having his hometown mocked, having a dance given to him by Alderton, and his e-mail address given out to the audience. Rick Rye, if you’re reading this, any comedian would be lucky to have you in their front row.

The fact an audience member was the highlight of this performance probably says it all, but just in case it doesn’t - you should save the ticket money and have a go on one of the Winter Wonderland rides. I highly recommend the mousetrap. 

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland Comedy Club is held at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland – Zippos Circus MegaDome until 5th January 2019 (closed Christmas Day). Tickets are £10 (off-peak)/ £12 (peak) + Transaction Fee, available here.


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