REVIEW: Just The Tonic, Saturday 25th May

After unfortunately missing the gig on the 18th May, this week I couldn’t wait to get back to Just The Tonic. With another strong line up including television regular Holly Walsh and Rudi Lickwood, a comedian described as ‘the top black comedian in the UK’, I had high hopes for a great night of comedy.

Our compere for the evening was Chris Mayo, a relatively unknown comedian who is a regular at Just The Tonic as he is a favourite of club owner Darrel Martin. Unlike Tom Toal, the comedian who rather struggled to warm up the crowd on the 11th May, Mayo supplied a pleasant combination of charm and wit to win over the rather reduced crowd. Although he didn’t provide any memorably hilarious moments, he had me and the majority of the crowd smiling, and feeling suitably ready for the forthcoming acts.

First on the bill was Holly Walsh. As a comedienne with an impressive CV (with appearances on nearly all of the well-known TV comedy panel shows), I was surprised that she would perform before the relatively unknown Paul Myrehaug. However, once she started performing it was unfortunately clear to see why. At first it was unclear as to whether Walsh was cripplingly nervous or just plain drunk, as she stuttered and slurred her way through vague, ill thought out routines. She finally introduced the foundations of a funny gag with her parting effort, but her delivery prevented it from getting the laughs it deserved, rounding off a thoroughly disappointing set.

Following this was Paul Myrehaug, who would have been forgiven for being nervous about facing a rather flat audience. From doing some pre-gig revision, I had discovered that Myrehaug has a big reputation in his native Canada, but he has is now in the process of establishing himself in the UK scene; this was his first gig for Just The Tonic. From his first words he was one of the funniest acts I’ve seen. His clipped military accent – amazingly similarly to Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Hunter S Thompson in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – seemed ill at odds with his in depths analysis of vaginas, sea donkeys and parrot’s clitoris’. All in all, I hope to be one of the first people in England to predict huge success for Paul Myrehaug in the future. Watch this space.

Headlining the night was Rudi Lickwood. By his own admission, Lickwood aimed to ‘keep it real’. You got the sense that he was an experienced performer, who really felt at ease on stage. However, in my opinion Lickwood offered a mixed bag of clever gags, racially stereotypical material and sincere political commentary on the Woolwich tragedy which gained applause from the crowd, but seemed out of place at a comedy gig. Although he did make me laugh at points, I did feel that Lickwood suffered from following on from the brilliance of Myrehaug. Saying this, he was infinitesimally better than Holly Walsh.

So a mixed night all round this week at Just The Tonic, but definitely worth a watch, mainly due to one man. Hopefully this headline act Andrew O’Neill can reach the same heights, and the supporting acts Simon Bligh, Liam Mullone and club owner Darrell Martin, can provide a little more consistency.

Andy Donley

For more information on Just The Tonic see:

Student Half Price Tickets, for more info email: [email protected]


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