Comedy review: Jo Caulfield's Comedy Collective

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COMEDY Jo Caulfield's Comedy Collective The Stand ***

EXPERIMENTS, as Dr Frankenstein would testify to, don't always work out as planned.

This monthly session at The Stand is about lab testing untried and unusual material, mixing compounds of comedians and styles and seeing what occurs.

Thankfully for the Tuesday night crowd who'd braved the rain, it was more parson's egg than insult to God's laws.

The first two acts proved to be an unstable mix of sharp writing combined with some fairly tired gags. Jim Park and Ben Verth's tour guide skit ebbed and flowed between the weak and strong, but, to be fair, the best material was very good indeed and Verth in particular has a real talent for dry, beautifully timed surrealism.

Paul Sneddon and Jay Lafferty's TV anchors skit contained some biting material and a spot on take on the banality of news broadcasting with, unfortunately, a few too many Two Ronnies offcuts.

After the break there was the odd but ultimately successful reading by Jo Caulfield and Jo Jo Sutherland of the comedy tweets of fundmanager Stuart Adair. True, much of it was very Tim Vine-ish, but it certainly got laughs. This was followed by the scatty, ukulele-toting young comedian Eleanor Morton, whose oddball demeanour and superbly timed gags should mean we'll be seeing more of her in the future.

Gareth Waugh's a more traditional gag merchant, but his nervy, eager style was excellent and his stream of well-honed gags got an appreciative response.

Before Paul Sneddon - AKA Vladimir McTavish - took to the stage to end proceedings, we were treated to the spectacle of a joke-off between comics Graeme Thomas and Keir McAllister, which McAllister won in style with a series of excellent, and highly insulting gags - well insulting if you were from Dundee or Glasgow.

It would be easy to concentrate on what didn't work, but this was a night of experimentation where most acts tackled things not normally on their radars. That some things were weaker than others was inevitable, but it's a brave and interesting Petri dish of comedy, out of which might well come some intriguing creations.