Just The Tonic

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The Loughborough Town Hall can be found in Market Place at the top of Market Street in town, and is a fantastic venue for theatre, comedy and art venue, with acts and events on throughout the year. And, of course, there are always student discounts available.

Loughborough Town Hall’s ‘Just the Tonic Comedy Club’ made for an enjoyable evening, when two friends and I, ‘newbies’ to live comedy, left the bubble and ventured in to the world of the non-student. My first comment is that, as the only three students, we became a very easy target for critique and insult (even though we did try and pick the most inconspicuous seats in the place). However, after contemplating army crawling out the back door, I figured it was worth putting up with the odd insult. Once I’d had my bit, I earned the satisfaction of watching everyone else squirm with the same awkwardness and embarrassment as me.

The evening was kicked off by the compeer who talked to the audience, finding out a few of our backgrounds, occupations, marital status etc., and consequently picked out his favourites which he then re-connected with throughout the evening (which turned out to be, for the large part, me). When he has sufficiently embarrassed me, and a few others, he brought on the first act, Ola.

Ola, was brilliant. He was sleek, fresh, and not too offensive, which gave us a refreshing relief. He was timid-ish, but that was his style, and he flowed through his set in a cool fashion, which left all three of us wanting more. Toward the end of his set, some of the Loughborough locals (notorious for being rowdy and loud) were indeed rowdy and loud. Being situated in the middle front of the room, they were starting to aggravate us all, and Ola wittingly picked-up on their obnoxiousness, leaving them feeling undoubtedly silly. However, his efforts fell flat, and when he left and the compeer came on, they were reprimanded again, indeed in a creative fashion (insulting their levels of intelligence, literacy skills etc), until they (in)voluntarily left.

The second act, Tiffany, began the set with a sequence of jokes that insulted either herself for being fat, or a woman, or ugly, or others, for being fat, or a woman, or ugly. When those grew tired, she satirised ‘yummy mummies’, the middle class, the working class, or the youth of today which, horrifyingly, resulted in calling me: ‘lovely twenty-year old’, and then persisting to say ‘smash your back doors in’ (when describing the indecent nature of today’s males) about thirty times, just to me, with the emphasis of each line lying on ‘smashing’, but… repeatedly. This obviously made me feel very uncomfortable. 

The headline act, Dana Alexandra, was the worst of all three by a mile. Her style, if we can indeed call it that, worked by offering a statement on society, then following it with, ‘what the f***?’, which drew a few, pitiful laughs from the crowd. I’m not saying she was cringe worthy, I don’t think she was. I think she was average, but average was all, and in my opinion if she and Ola had been swapped, I would have been over the moon.

In terms of offering a recommendation, I say that as long as you’re prepared for a bit of confrontation, you’re guaranteed at least a few laughs (even if they’re directed at the ever entertaining locals). The verdict? Give live comedy a go. 

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