Leicester Comedy Festival review: Eric Rushton at Manhattan 34

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Review by Sofia Luis-Hobbs

The name of Eric Rushton’s show had me feeling like I’d guessed what was coming even before I’d even set foot in the venue.

After all, you’d expect a routine called Convict to be brimful of jokes about jail and inmates, right?

Wrong.

As Rushton stood before us in an orange jumpsuit with a prison number scribbled on with permanent marker, he revealed the real plot of the show – he’s not in a real nick, instead he’s imprisoned within his own mind.

Original, dark and intriguing, this show isn’t for the snowflakes among us.

Juggling topics like mental health and being on the dole, he manages to tastefully tackle these subjects whilst still being sufficiently crude to keep up with his on-stage persona.

Making reference to the gym being a helpful tool to aid mental health, he turns his own workouts into an on-stage commentary of why people are really go there.

“Oi! Guys on the treadmills, what are you really running from?” he shouts to the back of the room, maintaining this stance of males being closed off when it comes to their emotions, and that gym is cheaper than therapy.

Rushton’s blunt and sarcastic tone consistent throughout the performance made this show even more enjoyable – especially when he starts talking about relationships and break-ups.

The moments when we weren’t sure if he was joking or being serious were comic in themselves.

Lingering on the ways different people deal with break-ups, comparing some to getting fired off of the Apprentice with a simple ‘thanks for your time’ kind of vibe to the more persistent ones. These persistent ones being like rejected X-Factor contestants with remarks like: “I’ll prove you wrong,” or funnier yet, “would you prefer me as part of a group?”

Rushton’s crude sense of humour proved the highlight, but he mixed it with just enough elements of dark comedy to be the perfect recipe for a stand-up show. He’s definitely one to watch.

But a word too, for Damon Conlan, who opened the show with a satirical magic act involving some tricks gone wrong.

From getting audience members up with him, to getting another to go to the bar to grab him some crisps as a prop for the rest of the performance, Conlan’s brilliant act was light-hearted, easy to watch and full of laughs.

Leicester Comedy Festival review: BBC Radio Leicester Presents… at the Cosy Club

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Review by Olivia Maclaughlin

In a line-up that boasted of Leicester Comedy Festival’s international reach and recognition, the Cosy Club hosted the final of three shows put on by BBC Radio Leicester.

For the past two Tuesdays, The A Show has offered a mixed bill of handpicked comedians but in this week’s show, the comedians came from far and wide.

The show, which ran for 120 minutes, was split into two. One half being the funny, laugh-filled 60 minutes and the next being a more informative question and answer, all live on air.

It was hosted by Alex Hylton, whose voice sounded as though he smokes 20 a day, and the audience was instantly entertained.

As he introduced the line-up to the crowd, and fired off some jokes about disgraced MPs, it was easy to see why the laughter started and didn’t stop.

Up first was Zenjiro, from Japan, who told of the woes of learning English with Pulp Fiction. He struggled at times to hold the attention of the audience and there were moments that fell flat, but he pulled it back with a routine about the linguistic differences between Japan, China and Korea.

Hailing from Montreal, Pascal Cameron connected with the crowd with dry, dark humour that was tamed down for this side of the BBC watershed. He slipped up just a couple of times, but that made his set all the better.

Micky Overman, from Amsterdam, was the only woman in the bill and made sure to leave an impression. She commanded the stage, winning over both her female audience and the male one too with quick-witted jokes about libido and sex along with ditching the padded bra. Easily the stand-out stand-up of the night.