Evan Burgess visited the Hobgoblin Cheltenham Comedy Festival as it launched last night...
|Festival Opener Carl Donnelly!|
“You like my playlist?” Queried Carl as he stormed on stage in leopard skin Cuban heals. Carl Donnelly explained that he had always had a slightly different look. Deliberately cutting his hair from the fluffy afro he had before, he hoped to slip the mocking of mates. Only then, he found himself slightly resembling Rolf Harris just as charges were filed. What to do?
With a sense of fearlessness about his embarrassing personal stories, Carl laid a lot bare as the audience got to know the act quite well. Happy to out himself and members of the audience for their toilet habits, the first half was friendly yet challenged personal boundaries.
“Who´s had a wee or a poo?” Came the inquisition as we rejoined our host for the second half. A few people raised hands and called out, he´d found his audience.
Gaining ground with the audience was just one aspect of the quality show. The strong material was so laid back that you didn´t quite realise how concise the timing was until the lines hit. Apparently he tried out new material. It was hard to be sure how much was genuinely first time on the night. Perhaps that statement just softened us up for a more refined joke than we were expecting, but the laughs were consistent and storytelling lucid.
By the end of the night, the exit from the stage wasn´t as easy as some other venues due to the layout, but people were quite happy to keep clapping for 2 minutes. After that some launched straight to the conveniences, “That’s a fine example of perfect timing” said a gent as he strolled to the loos. “The material?” I thought, misguidedly. “I couldn´t hold it in any longer” he exclaimed to his companion whilst nabbing the closest urinal. Carl certainly knew how to leave the public satisfied!