Having been a fixture in the comedy scene particularly in the south of the country, Krater Comedy Club’s arrival in York was something of a landmark occasion. A backboard for now well-known acts like Armstrong & Miller and Michael McIntyre among many others, its underground sensibility is sure to endear it to fans of intimate, personal comedy and the chance to see the up-and-comers is definitely an enticing one. Taking place at The Basement, York’s cosy little venue under City Screen cinema, it’s definitely about as intimate as you can get, giving it all the atmosphere of heading to the bar rather than what you’d expect at a gig venue, which works in favour of the club’s style.
Very much like a smaller scale ‘Live at the Apollo’, the club starts with a compère in the shape of Stephen Grant, who is enthusiastic and eager to involve the audience, happy to riff off their responses and eager to get the crowd drummed up and enthused for the upcoming acts. Perhaps he takes a little bit too much time dealing with a couple of heckles from the crowd but his witticisms are enough to tide us over until the arrival of the first act. Michael Fabbri is first, his material consisting of anecdotes about his job and quick-witted jokes about masturbation and sex. His set is arguably the tightest of the lot, continuously funny and sometimes pushing the edges of taste in just the right places, Fabbri is definitely the standout of the event in terms of comic talent.
Next came Adam Staunton, a Scouse comedian who plays to his strengths with his brand of self-deprecating humour, from jokes about his height to the nature of his degree, he’s always amusing but not much more than smile-inducing. Nevertheless, the time he’s on stage is enjoyable and he’s charming and interesting interesting enough to hold our attention for the duration of his set. Third on to stage was Laura Lexx, whose set, primarily about the trials and tribulations of a relationship, is common ground and Lexx doesn’t do much to make her own version particularly unique. Lexx talks with the audience, discussing love and the annoying things partners do in the manner of an old friend, and it’s this familiarity, like you’re being talked to by a friend who’s just venting frustrations, that gives her set enough to make for an enjoyable twenty minutes or so.
Finally came Chris Turner. With a style reliant on one-liners with a twist, Turner’s hit and miss style was highly enjoyable and his set, from the Roman numeral jokes that were that heady mix of genius and absurd, to a rap that may have been the standout event of the night as he made a song based on objects or concepts that the crowd gave him, managing to work such terms as ‘professional indemnity’ in wonderfully as he ended the night on what was quite a mind-boggling high, having been much better at rapping that most will have expected and very good at his improvisation, Turner was another standout of the night.
Overall the first night of the Krater Comedy Club in York was an enjoyable if uneven affair, but that much is to be expected from an event where underground comics are trying to find their feet. It’s promising that there is this kind of talent out there and whilst they may not have lit the world alight, the acts here allowed for a pleasant if unspectacular evening of comedy that promises much for future weeks.
Krater Comedy Club takes place every Sunday at 19:30 at The Basement in York. To book tickets click here