Although Durham’s juggernaut of a theatre scene often steals the limelight, the university’s comedy circuit, lurking in the darkest corner of the city – Trevs– has just as much to offer. Plonked in the middle of the college bar in front of a small but appreciative crowd, and annoyingly flanked by several loud and disrespectful bar crawls, nine comedians took to the stage with a pleasing variation of content and style.
The biggest surprise of the night – they were all actually funny. Yes, the comic timing was lacking at points and the audience didn’t really ease into the night until they were sufficiently inebriated part way through the first half, but the potential of the guys can’t be disputed.
“Trevs’ own” Will Lavelle was an excellent compere, interacting well with the audience throughout, and his savage attacking of Durham’s “Lad Culture” was hilarious, until a sport social wandered in and things could have got a bit tasty to say the least. Lavelle, in this case, and many others across the night, tapped into one important fact though – that university-relevant jokes are funniest. Cue anecdotes as to the make-up of the ultimate Frisbee team and the biggest joke in Durham – Klute.
From Trevs’ own Will Lavelle we moved onto The Bubble’s own Oscar Koronka who set the tone for the night with his sharp tongue, tight delivery and bags of confidence – as well as a moving clarinet recital. Other first half highlights included Paddy Dodds, who exuded professionalism and brought the first big laughs of the night. Not to mention first timer Alex Taylor who seemed to be one of the most experienced, and certainly was, one of the funniest acts of the whole evening.
In the second half headliner Jake Donaldson showed quality in glimpses, but failed to hit the mark with certain jokes, perhaps as he isn’t a Durham student. Rather, the half was stolen by the excellent Freddie Riddell whose Scientology content was brilliant, but was nothing compared to the fact that every “Lad” in Durham only has friends called Freddie. I know this first hand given my hockey team’s starting XI is over one-third comprised of Freddies, and that isn’t an exaggeration.
Overall, the night would have benefited from a more intimate venue that didn’t allow people in who weren’t interested. Ultimately, though, Durham’s comedy scene is thriving and it would definitely be worth checking out their next event, because some of these guys have big futures in stand-up.