Derby Theatre’s diverse 2016 took another turn on Sunday night for a one night stop for the biggest comedy tour of the year, the “All Star Stand Up Tour”. Featuring double Sony Award winner and star of Mock The Week Gary Delaney, top comedy trickster and star of BBC 1’s The Magicians Pete Firman, Kiwi compere Jarred Christmas and unbeaten legend, Never Mind The Buzzcocks team captain and one of Channel 4’s 100 Greatest Stand-Ups in the World Sean Hughes, the move paid off with a sold out Sunday night.
The two hour show was split into two halves with Delaney opening proceedings, Sean Hughes following and Pete Firman closing a first half which was particularly strong. Delaney was at ease as compere and ice-breaker, testing out which genre of gag was going to work, pushing the smutometer up a few notches, and ensuring that Nottingham was roundly abused. His fusillade of one liners invariably hit ,rather than missed, and his Wikipedia gags were a safe comic vehicle for him to close on.
Sean Hughes, came on stage with a cracking local gag, and never looked back. Assured, confident and funny, he delivered what was to turn out to be the most competent, and humorous, set of the night.
Pete Firman presents himself as magician and comic. His opening card tricks lacked impact in a five hundred seater auditorium, yet his relaxed good humour kept the audience onside. We were rewarded with a compelling disappearing £20 note trick from an audience member that reappeared in seemingly impossible circumstances making for a rousing first half finale.
For the second half Delaney took the stage to build on his earlier material to create the perfect platform for headliner for the night Jarred Christmas to bring it all on home. Unfortunately, after a tentative start, Christmas never seemed to quite find his stride, despite a well worked audience participation slot. Somehow he always seemed to be just behind the pace of the audience.
Nonetheless the ensemble enjoyed a warm reception from an appreciative crowd. The All Star Stand Up tour continues on nationwide tour.
This review first appeared in Behind the Arras, abridged, where a comprehensive collection of reviews from the best of Midlands Theatre, from a range of reviewers, is available.