REVIEW: Groan Ups ★★★
This work-in-progress showing has the beginnings of what could be a very funny and relatable stand up show... Jones has a natural, understated charm that could see him go far.
Stand up comedy is, by most people’s standards, one of the toughest jobs to get right. Like all art, it’s a mercurial concoction of different stimuli and conditions that make a stand-up set work. You could be the most talented stand-up comedian going and still flop if you and your audience don’t gel. Stand up requires a real flexibility in order to work. Of course it still needs a structure if it’s a full length show, but that structure can shift and morph depending on what the audience gives you. It’s a huge challenge for any performer, particularly starting out and, inevitably, performing in front of small audiences.
Reminiscent of a more softly spoken James Acaster.
Getting the balance right with an audience, whatever its size, is tricky, and its a balancing act comedian Dan Jones faced with bravery. Faced with a small audience at the Bath pub venue, The Grapes, Jones’ self-aware, awkward comedy was somewhat overshadowed by the absence of Groan Ups’ other half, Jessica Aszkenasy. Billed originally as a double set of two comedians, it was disappointing that we were only treated to half the show, but Dan Jones’ promise as a comic did shine through.
Sharing tales of his tricky break up and move to Brighton, his nervous humour was reminiscent of a more softly spoken James Acaster. It was a tough audience for him to bond with - Bath audiences are generally pretty reticent about joining in - but Jones was nonetheless endearing in his presentation with some very cleverly mounted gags up his sleeve.
Natural, understated charm.
This work-in-progress showing has the beginnings of what could be a very funny and relatable stand up show. It was a shame that only half the content of the night could be shared, but Jones has a natural, understated charm that could see him go far. With a little more polishing, Groan Ups will no doubt be a lovely hour of comedy.
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