Sunday, November 14, 2010

"The Wee Man & Muckers" - November 2010

Neil Bratchpiece's appearances as Glasgow ned "The Wee Man" in Citizens Community Company shows over the last couple of years have been some of the funniest moments we've had in a theatre. So when we saw that he was headlining a one-night only comedy evening at the Citz we quickly booked up.

Compere for the show in the Citz Circle Studio was Joe Heenan, and despite a tendency to go a bit local-radio-dj in his audience interaction he delivered some strong material and worked the crowd well. So much so, that we agreed entirely with the unusually insightful heckler at the end of the show who observed that Heenan was the best act of the night. He was... and by a considerable margin.

The first act on stage was Bratchy, and if we were to be generous we could describe his routine as a carefully constructed rambling one. But in truth it felt more like a performance thrown together with little thought or preparation. Next up was Julia Sutherland who delivered a slick and polished set, but one that was pretty short on laughs. Fortunately things improved with the appearance of Mikey Adams who, despite his protests, appeared perfectly comfortable working with an audience on all four sides and generated some good laughs.

Following an interval, and some more good work by Heenan, we got the much anticipated arrival of "The Wee Man". But sadly, a character we've seen work brilliantly in sketches, rarely translated to the stand-up format. Without being able to spark off of other characters, Bratchpiece's writing lost much of its sharpness and attempts at audience interaction were met with mixed success. And incomprehensibly, given that Bratchpiece is familiar with the performance space, a significant part of his set involved displaying a set of images on a pad in the corner - leaving half the audience straining to see the detail and a good number unable to see them at all. His delivery of a comedy rap was also hampered by his decision to lose the microphone - making it impossible to catch many of the lyrics. As a result, what should have been an opportunity to showcase Bratchpiece's obvious talent just highlighted the limitations of the character and a need for greater effort in both the planning and the execution of his performances.


Image used with permission.