Returning after a two year hiatus, The Free Beer Show presented Richard Herring with an Edinburgh preview and Marcel Lucont in support, compered by Matt Richardson.
Marcel Lucont delivered a beautifully judged set of supercilious character comedy. It is difficult to portray an annoying character without yourself being annoying, but Lucontâ€™s combination of beautifully understated physical comedy and clever wordplay was a joy. The song and poems in the set were a real highlight â€“ his poem about sex in old age was disgusting, funny and had a real sweetness to it.
The gig had a great atmosphere, which is a credit to Richardsonâ€™s enthusiastic compering. Itâ€™s the kind of place where you can properly talk to strangers and not feel weird. Incidentally, they mean it about the free beer, which might have helped.
Full disclosure: I bloody love Richard Herring. I would describe myself as a fan. In this preview, Herring presented a set of vignettes that will go on to become his Edinburgh show this year. One of the nicest things about Herringâ€™s set was the sense that the audience were a part of it. A few times he pointed out that our feedback was directly shaping the show.
The stories have a very broad frame of reference â€“ from John Donne to Dusty Bin â€“ but are all broadly concerned with themes of ethics. One of Herring's most famous shows, Talking Cock, is about penises. This show seems to be about not being a penis. In a scene still dominated by laddish, just-say-the-worst-thing-I-can-think-of-and-call-it-a-joke comics, this, combined with his warm and friendly delivery, is as refreshing as an ice-cold, free beer.
I still bloody love Richard Herring.
The Free Beer Show is a brilliant night. Warm and welcoming, and they book great acts. I hope they donâ€™t wait another two years to bring it back.