The Artists Currently Known as Magpie & Stump

Mon 22nd – Sat 27th August 2011

reviews

Catherine Kitsis

at 23:04 on 24th Aug 2011

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Magpie and Stump has always been very close to my heart. My second ever date with my boyfriend of the past seven years was an evening spent drinking wine whilst watching the long established comedy society at their home – Trinity College Cambridge. I remember the evening because the acts were so warm and inclusive, which isn’t something one would necessarily expect from comedians at what is supposedly the most elite Cambridge college.

The efforts of this year’s Magpie crop fully lived up to my fond memories. In comparison to the ubiquitous Footlights egos that emerge year after year the Magpie and stump boys (about five or six of them – they hinted that an extra one had been left off the bill due to a late start but I’m not sure if it was all part of the act…) were wonderfully sweet. Not nerds by any stretch of the imagination, but genuine and clever enough to be ever so slightly adorkable. I had made up my mind before the show started that any pretentious Cambridgey nonsense would be severely berated, but I needn’t have worried. Most of the sketches were entertainingly light. Nothing earth shattering or intricately constructed – just the kind of funny stories that you’d expect to hear over a drink with a witty friend who wants to make you laugh.

The running joke of the evening was that the group of comics had spent most of the day on the Royal Mile targeting good looking girls with flyers, and that a fair few of them had turned up to see the show. Making fun of themselves and their stereotypes in the sincerest way they thoroughly entertained those who had decided to attend this evening of ‘fun with no commitment’, males and females alike, and made a good-natured impression. So, to all the comedy loving girls (and boys) out there: The Magpie and Stump boys are nice. Go to their show. Take them home to see your mum.

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David Knowles

at 14:55 on 25th Aug 2011

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Magpie and Stump set themselves up as a rather different sort of comedic troupe. Indeed, the Compére started off the set by making the audience applaud a stuffed bird in the corner which glowered over proceedings. As it happened however the show was surprisingly normal. Five stand ups of varying quality each talked for a few minutes about their chosen subjects. Not exactly breaking the mould then.

The show then proved to be a complete mix of quality. Simply put, three of the stand ups were funny, the other two were not. The Kiwi George Gordon combined a melodious accent with a series of pithy and well delivered jokes about the differences between his home country and the sun drenched United Kingdom. Gordon managed to win the audience over to his side fairly early on and this stood him in good stead when he arrived at some of his weaker jokes. Al Thompson (described by the website as the ‘resident giant’) also had a very musical voice and his set was perhaps the strongest; combining charm and wit in equal proportions.

Ben Gordon also won over the audience early by mentioning that his family were in the audience and, sweetly, the audience were kind to him. He started off well, very well indeed and I was at one point wondering whether he was going to eclipse the talent of the other speakers. But alas, it was not to be. Just before the half way point in his set Gordon suddenly lost a lot of confidence and his set suffered badly.

It is definitely worth going to see Magpie and Stump; the comedians clearly have bag loads of talent. However some of them are a lot more confident and secure in their sets than others and this is ultimately what drags the show down from being a solid four star to three.

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