Cardiff Glee’s ‘The Gathering’: Review

Cardiff’s Glee Club wants to make Sunday funny.

It’s a relatively difficult task to pull people in from the comfort of their homes for half a pint and a giggle before the long week ahead, but one thing’s for sure, this show definitely beats the Sunday blues.

The Gathering’s regular host is Mark Olver, a Bristol-based stand-up already infamous at the Glee for the tricks he pulls with baked goods. Unfortunately in this show he had to quickly rush off to do a charity gig and we were left compere-less. However, the small introduction we got from Olver was enough to leave you wanting more. He immediately put the audience at ease, warming the room with onomatopoeic words and harmless banter with Sports students.

The energy did drop as Olver left – awkward transitions from act-to-act, a lot of fumbling with technical equipment, not-to-mention dwelling far too long on a feuding couple sat in the second row meant Lloyd Langford and Sarah Breese’s stuff didn’t fully hit.

Rescuing the night came far too easily for headliner Scott Gibson. Coming to the end of touring his hit Edinburgh ‘Best Newcomer’ show ‘Life After Death’, he was in a class of his own as he transfixed the audience with the inspiring tale of how a brain aneurysm got him into comedy. His mixture of hilarious hospital anecdotes and ‘carpe diem’ message was a perfect fit for a Sunday-night pick-me-up.

The calibre of acts to come is similarly impressive. Suzi Ruffle, Jenny Collier and Sara Pascoe to name but a few of the witty names on future bills. At £5 for a concession and £8 for a full price ticket, this show is a steal.

Glee’s ‘The Gathering’ is everything that’s great about comedy: cheap tickets, haphazard awkwardness and must-see headliners.

Let’s face it you’ve probably watched enough Netflix, it’s time to take bae to the Bay.

 

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Reginald D. Hunter is coming to Cardiff’s Glee Club in April

One of the biggest names in comedy, Reginald D. Hunter, is bringing his tour to the Glee Club this year.

His preview tour Some People V. Reginald D. Hunter comes to the Glee on Wednesday 19th April 2017.

Hunter has just completed a critically acclaimed tour of Ireland and has performed across Europe.

According to Glee’s website, “during the 15 years in which [he] has lived in the UK, Reginald’s searingly honest material has garnered him a popular fanbase that spans the generations.”

The Times have referred to him amongst the “top rank” of comedians touring the world today, and The Telegraph say he’s “stand-up’s coolest customer”.

You can buy tickets for Hunter’s April Glee show now through their website.

Watch more of Reginald D. Hunter being funny here:

Comedian’s Corner: Karen Sherrard

Who are you?

Woman, comedian, actor, animal-lover, gardener, traveller and drummer.

Describe your humour in three words. 

“Hopefully it’s funny”. Or does that count as 4 words? This is why I can’t cope with Twitter.

Most embarrassing moment on stage?

I once wet myself trying not to laugh performing in a dreadful play about Vikings. It was a theatre in education project in a school, so thankfully many of the audience had also soiled themselves. I also tripped up as I walked on at a comedy night in Builth Wells, launching myself face first onto the stage. It got a laugh, though.

Best compliment you’ve been given from an audience member?

“You should be on telly”. I’m still not on telly.

Worst job you’ve ever had?

I’m lucky that I’ve mostly done interesting jobs that I’ve loved, but when I was still looking for acting work, I had a job wrapping roses in cellophane (the kind that people used to go round selling in restaurants or at traffic lights in the 90’s). I got £12 a day, thorns in my thumbs and a real sense of failure for my troubles.

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Favourite Cardiff venue?

The Glee is set up perfectly – no empty seats at the front, you can see the audience and they can see you, great sound, free food and you’re well looked after. All you need to do is perform well. I’m also fond of Drones at Chapter and Fun at the Flute at the Flute and Tankard.

Why do you do comedy? (Oooh philosophical)

Unlike acting, you can get out there and get spots on a comedy bill fairly easily. So I’ve been able to develop my act and build up a profile, make contacts and build an audience on my own terms, without having to wait for someone to cast me in a role. The way a gig works is that you are often performing with acts you have never met before and you are all equally responsible for putting on a good show. There’s no rehearsal, just a lot of respect and a bit of magic. There’s no separation from the audience, you’re seeking an immediate and direct response from them and there has to be a collaboration between all the acts and the audience to make the night work. It’s extremely compelling and without it, I feel pretty empty!

What’s your tipple?

Rum. Havana Club 7 year. A nice ale if I’m in a pub. But if I need to party til dawn, rum it is.

New Year’s Resolution?

I don’t really do resolutions. I often try to get stuff sorted out in September as I think that’s an easier time of year to make changes. However, I want to counteract the Trump / Brexit atmosphere with positivity. I feel really fired up with the challenge of re-uniting people again, getting people together with shared experiences and understanding each other better. And what better way to do this than with comedy?

Where can we watch you be funny?

Come along to Fun at the Flute (Flute and Tankard) on January 19th where I’ll be headlining with my character Eirys Evans. There will be a raffle.

Comedian buys entire Cardiff Glee Club audience donuts

They say the Christmas period is a time for giving. Well, one comic visiting Cardiff took that notion very seriously this week.

Mark Olver, who’s a comedian based in Bristol, made Cardiff Glee Club history on Thursday’s ‘Comedy Carousel’ night when he provided each and every audience member – 300 of them – with their very own donut.

He then played a sex-based postcode lottery game with both the audience and the donuts.

The game involved Mark shouting out the name of a postcode and getting people to cheer if they’d had sex in that postcode.

He told Cardiff Comedy Hub that “combining it with the donuts came to [him] earlier in the day”.

Mark said: “The donut thing was just that it was the last Carousel, I love Clint [Edwards] and Robin [Morgan] and the last time I did it I performed holding two flaming candelabras and needed to top that”.

However, Mark didn’t quite plan to buy that many donuts: “I thought there would only be about 50 people in so I thought a big fun stupid gesture would be funny and appropriate. I then found out there were 300 people in but by then I’d already decided and so I bought 300 donuts.”

 

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A couple in the audience enjoying their holy treats. Photo credit: Robin Morgan @robinjaymorgan

Mark doesn’t just buy donuts for everyone. He just has a real thing for Cardiff Glee: “It’s a great club, ace staff, great sound and lights – just made for comedy. The gigs I’ve ran have always had an informal air where anything can happen. This was just something silly to do at the Glee because I like it so much there.”

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Mark Olver describes the sexy-donut-postcode-lottery game to the Cardiff Glee audience. Photo credit: Robin Morgan @robinjaymorgan

Of course, ’tis the season to stuff one’s face, so the donuts went down a treat. The stunt received a raucous reception. Cardiff Glee’s manager James Allen even said the words: “Won’t ever forget that!”

So there you have it folks, if your New Year’s Resolution is to see more comedy then what bigger incentive do you need?!

Cardiff Glee Club are saying goodbye to their Thursday ‘Comedy Carousel’ night. New plans for the night will be decided on in the new year. We’ll be sure to keep you updated.

Happy New Year Cardiff laughter-lovers!