EFR - Reviews of Melon, Coffee, Duck

Melon, Coffee, Duck

Sat 2nd – Sat 23rd August 2014

reviews

Kate Wilkinson

at 04:05 on 18th Aug 2014

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The three stand-ups of Melon, Coffee, Duck (Joe Hart, Lydia Harrison, and Calum Nagel) met the dreaded fate of obscure comedians throughout Edinburgh - the poor turnout. At their 1:35pm slot at George Next Door, there was only a 2:1 audience member to performer ratio. Which was a shame because these three promising if inconsistent comedians could have done with a larger crowd.

Many perfectly alright jokes fell flat due to lack of laughter and the claustrophobic, intense environment felt a rather awkward.

Hart made a smooth compere and managed to introduce himself endearingly. His delivery throughout was assured and his comfortable presence managed to dispel some of the awkwardness.

Very much branded as a computer science nerd, his material mainly took inspiration from his childhood imagination. I really took to his idea for a crime show involving detectives Time and Space.

He also spoke amusingly about his experience of coming out to his parents. The end of his set was a breathless listing of all the questions straight people ask him after finding out he’s gay, followed by a list of the corresponding answers. Had I been better able to follow him, I may have found it funnier but he sped through the material, making the intentionally fast-paced delivery hard to hear.

Lydia Harrison emitted a rather understated stage presence and delivered a rambling set with a couple of odd gems. She made a few remarks about awkwardness in relationships - the most well-trodden path in the whole stand-up forest. Her material felt most original when focused on the influence of Hollywood and the way it encourages her to think she’s the hero of her own blockbuster.

Harrison is clearly capable of genuinely perceptive remarks. She observed that people trust QI as a more reliable factual source than the news. Her infallible logic leads her to conclude that Stephen Fry must have a super power - that of mind control.

The final stand-up, Calum Nagel would have benefited the most from a better turnout to provide laughs and give him more confidence. His off-beat punnery was reminiscent of Milton Jones but a lot of Nagel’s jokes need both refinement and better delivery.

Due to the powerful influence of live response in stand-up, a louder audience would have lifted each of their sets considerably. That, and a little more consistency, would make for a class lineup of comedy.

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Rowena Henley

at 04:22 on 18th Aug 2014

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It is always going to be an awkward experience when you and your fellow reviewer are two amongst an audience of six. Melon, Coffee, Duck performed in the intimate venue of George Next Door: Room 3 and the Southampton University trio did their best to present diverse and topical humour but, ultimately, fell short. Nonetheless, there was free coffee upon arrival. Always a plus.

On first was Joe Hart, compere and comedian, who was probably the most conventional of the three. Joe led us through some anecdotal jokes ranging from parent-child relationships to his computer science degree. The piece flowed well, despite being a little rushed. His hastiness was presumably down to an understandable fear that the jokes would receive little response from an audience of single digits.

As a closer, Joe did intentionally speed through a series of typical questions and answers between straight and gay people. This was a particularly remarkable moment, but the piece as a whole could have been considerably enhanced if Joe had taken the time to enunciate punch lines and wait for a reaction.

Lydia Harrison was up next. I initially developed a soft spot for this self-confessed “mild-mannered comedian”. Lydia started off pretty conventionally, talking about weight issues, the façade of film culture and failed sexual encounters. Her ideas seemed to come and go quite naturally, which is a commendable asset for a comedian, but at moments they lost momentum as her confidence dropped, creating a bit of an uncomfortable atmosphere. However, the material was relatable enough and she started to get me onside.

About half way through, things started to get a little weird. Lydia asked if anyone, as a child, wished that his or her parents had died. Pretty shocking stuff. But some of the best comedy is. I remained hopeful. Her attempts to justify this bizarre question, however, didn’t really carry through. Lydia never really managed to pick herself back up and the material lost focus, descending into topics such as incest and zombie apocalypses. I found myself drifting off and wondering where the nearest place was to buy moisturiser.

Last up was definitely the most unconventional of the lot. It is virtually impossible to review Calum Nagel, as I genuinely don’t know whether I loved him or hated him. His ten minute set consisted of excruciatingly terrible comedy, but was Calum in on it? His set lacked any coherence, the jokes were passable at best and comic timing went completely out of the window. But there was a glint in his eye. He knew what he was doing. It was damn near genius. And yet, nerves crept in that were not an intended part of the performance. It affected the delivery, which slightly undermined his entire concept.

Melon, Coffee, Duck did the best with what they got. There were glimmers of brilliance and with a little more practice and a lot more audience members, they could go on to do great things.

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