The New Greenham Comedy Bunker at New Greenham Arts on Thursday, February 16
TAKING place in the auditorium at New Greenham Arts rather than the nearby bunkers that formerly housed cruise missiles, Comedy Bunker was a mini-Jongleurs featuring three acts from the Avalon Entertainment arsenal - compere Naz Osmanoglu (above: isn't he scrummy?), female character stand-up Grainne Maguire, and a headline set from Radio One DJ-stroke-comedian Tom Deacon.
Twenty-five-year-old Deacon wore great hair and those strange trendy trousers that young types have started sporting - sludgy colours, baggy around the top, slim around the ankle. I learnt from his act, which partly centred on the dilemma of looking cool or otherwise that such slacks are officially known as chinos, but they don’t look like the military-style chinos I remember from my youth. These ones are just silly. Although at least those who wear them don’t have their pants on show. Anyway, despite the clear generation gap between Deacon and the majority of the audience, his act went down a storm. I think all women in the audience wanted to mother him, and all the men remembered when they had hair as luxuriant as his.
Stunning Irishwoman Maguire hid behind a geeky persona and costume of nerd glasses, laddered tights, wonky hemline and ill-fitting jumper, meaning it was hard to tell if her slight awkwardness at the beginning was genuine or part of the act. Things warmed up towards the end with a good take on the likes of Beyonce making a curvy derriere fashionable again, with a song dedicated to the female belly, culminating in a intentionally disturbing Pussycat Dolls-style writhe against the mic stand. Don’t tell her mum that she’s dropped the Beowulf material, though.
It’s always a challenge to review a compere as their main purpose is to warm up the audience through ad-libbed interaction rather than to provide material in their own right - the handsomely-bearded Osmanoglu did a very good job; but to be honest I’d be much more interested in seeing him return to Newbury with his comedy troupe WitTank, after they received glowing reviews and a place on the Fosters Comedy Award longlist at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe. With co-member Kieran Boyd hailing from Caversham, I think that needs to be sorted out, sharpish. I want to see that beard again.
- First published in the Newbury Weekly News on Thursday, February 23, 2012