Image: Warwick Arts Centre

Self-depreciation and frank honesty: Ed Gamble’s Stampede review

By now, Ed Gamble is a well-known comedian to most people, performing his stand up shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, touring across the UK and making weekly appearances on popular TV shows such as Mock the Week and Drunk History. Unfortunately for him, however, stand up comedian Greg Davies is also very well known, popular, and happened to be performing next door in the Warwick Arts Centre (or rather, what’s left of it) on the same night.

Nevertheless, this didn’t stop the comedian putting on a hilarious show for his crowd on this sleepy Sunday evening. While there were moments which clearly received less of a response than he was used to, with him repeatedly reminding the audience that we needed to ‘loosen up’, these were only occasional and by no means impacted upon the atmosphere of sheer entertainment.

With a show so heavily focused around personal anecdotes, I couldn’t help but wonder how much of his stories were actually true

By the show’s second half and with the help of Ed’s personal addition of a heavy metal soundtrack, we had very much done as we were told, appearing not to regret the choice to opt for his hilarious mix of self-deprecation and frank honesty turned funny. With a show so heavily focused around personal anecdotes, I couldn’t help but wonder how much of his stories were actually true – a particularly amusing gag about his experience of a massage after a full roast dinner springs to mind – but this by no means got in the way of us crying with laughter on numerous occasions.

The Goose Nest is supposedly a venue for all types of performance, and despite its somewhat basic aesthetic, having only been built in a couple of months, it worked well for this stand-up gig both functionally and for the opportunity for some impromptu jokes. With its 296 seat auditorium, the Goose Nest seems to serve as a replacement and slight upgrade (in terms of capacity) to the Arts Centre’s Studio, to which Ed brought his show Stampede in 2016. In fact, the venue’s makeshift feel certainly played to the comedian’s advantage, as he jokingly thanked us for the opportunity to play at the Warwick Arts Centre “garage”, saying how he felt as though he was “doing a gig for troops in Afghanistan”. That’s the beauty of comedy – all you need is a stage, chairs, and an audience. It’s a good job, really.

With hardly any mention of politics besides one or two Brexit comments, Ed’s jokes were accessible to all

Looking around the audience before the show, it seemed to be comprised of mostly people in their 20s and 30s, and admittedly it was a little surprising not to see more student representation. Perhaps a night out at the Arts Centre doesn’t top the list for student spending priorities, however in my opinion a £12 student ticket for such quality entertainment seems to be some of the best value campus can offer. The age range was good, however, and with families in the audience providing the opportunity for an extra one-liner here and there, the far-reaching appeal of Ed’s comedy across so many different types of people was clear – something that can’t be said for every comedian.

The show was originally written for the Edinburgh Fringe festival, often associated with a contemporary and fresh vibe, but the content nevertheless translated well for his second UK tour. With hardly any mention of politics besides one or two Brexit comments, Ed’s jokes were accessible to all. From the gig’s opening about his rock and roll bassoon-playing childhood, to the commendable attempt at a rendition of Three Blind Mice on said bassoon to close, it was a laugh a minute and undoubtedly a fantastic display of comedy from the comedian who I hope we see here again, perhaps in the main building, in the future.

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