Edinburgh Fringe Review: The Comedy Reserve

19 Aug

Words by Susan Fordcomedyreserve

The Comedy Reserve is currently in its 9th year, showcasing 4 great comedians that are topped to be big in the proceeding years.  Previous Reservers include Jack Whitehall, Holly Walsh, Joe Lycett, and Doc Brown, and this year there are some equally excellent fresh new faces for you to enjoy.  Hosting the evening is John Hastings, who made up one quarter of the last Punchline line-up earlier in the year.  He is joined at the Comedy Reserve by Tom Toal, Tez Ilyas and Jack Barry, a finely picked bunch of comedians who put on an outstanding show.

Canadian John Hastings is very quick as a compere, making so many great comedic call backs, not only to his own materiel, but also to the gags that the other acts have laid down in their sets.  On the exterior, John is a gentleman, polite and softly spoken, but on a deeper level he is feisty, and not afraid to go to the dark side of comedy to rouse belly laughter throughout the crowd.

Tez Ilyas deserves his place in the line up greatly so, because he really is a fresh bit of talent on the comedy circuit.  He has a tremendous stage presence, luring the audience in with a seemingly fragile aura, before smashing these initial preconceptions with outrageous punchlines. Tez conjures comedy out of the simplest scenarios, but it his unique way of delivery that draws you in: fingers crossed Tez will be back next year with another successful stand up show,

Tom Toal is one of my favourite comedians; his cheeky smile is teamed up with even cheekier material that is well-written and subsequently hilarious. T-Bone, Double-T, or T-T, tells jokes about his personal life and stories about dating and food that shouldn’t be as funny as Tom can make them. It is this ability that Tom has to see the funny in any situation, surreal or ordinary, that makes him such a good comedian and a superb part of the Comedy Reserve.

Completing the line up is Jack Barry, performing a great set of jokes to finish off the evening. Jack again is a great story teller, placing brilliant punchlines in amongst anecdotes from his life.  Jack has a soft, comforting voice, that lulls the audience in to each joke, before he suitably pulls something a bit more comically absurd out his bag.  Jack Barry’s performance fits in neatly with how the other comedians present their material,  making his set the shiney bow on the top of the wholly wonderful show that is The Comedy Reserve.

Because during the Comedy Reserve, the selected comedians only get 15 minutes to cram in their material, as an audience you get all the best bits of a  great live performance guaranteed. Please be sure to check out this show if you are at the festival this year, because John Hastings, Tez Ilyas, Tom Toal and Jack Barry are all names you will hear a lot more from soon. Tickets still available here, and on a side note, please check out my Punchine interview with Tom Toal.

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