Small Town Heroes

Sat 8th – Sat 22nd August 2015

reviews

Bethan Roberts

at 11:25 on 14th Aug 2015

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When Tom Glover began flyering for his show Small Town Heroes, a passing local’s reaction to the choice of venue was short and not exactly sweet. “The Southsider? Good luck.” The pessimism of this apparently seasoned expert in Edinburgh pubs was not entirely misplaced – no question there are limitations to the scope offered by the small, stuffy room at the back of this establishment. Glover and fellow West Country comic Luke Honnoraty nonetheless succeed in making the space their own for each of their half hour sets, and it’s surprisingly easy as an audience-member to forget you’re in a dingy pub backroom, rather than one of Edinburgh’s more up-market venues.

Given this show is part of the PBH Free Fringe, the audience are getting two comedians for the price of none, and Glover and Honnoraty’s comedic styles justify the choice to make this a double bill. Both have something different to offer, which allows them to cater to different tastes. Glover is relaxed and meandering, taking the time to interact with the audience in between the more structured components of his set. By contrast, Honnoraty is more frantic and energetic, and more focussed on personal experience than Glover’s more general observations. There are things to enjoy about both sets, and the comics’ talents are well-matched, neither of the pair noticeably underperforming or stealing the limelight.

The show is entertaining, but unfortunately the laughs don’t come as frequently or as loudly as might be desired. There’s strong material in both sets – Glover is, for example, strong on West Country reactions to flooding and Honnoraty on his relationship with his partner – but there are also some punchlines which are a bit too obvious, and some riffs which fall flat. It’s a fun hour, but there aren’t really any stand out moments of side-splitting hilarity, just frequent chuckles and giggles from the assembled audience members. The audience seemed to leave satisfied and content with their choice of entertainment, but not noticeably overwhelmed. Small Town Heroes is a show worth popping in to see if you’re in the area with a free hour, but falls far short of being a must-see.

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Ben Driscoll

at 11:38 on 14th Aug 2015

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Tucked into a small room at the back of a favourite local pub, The Southsider, the setting for the stand-up show Small Town Heroes is modest and unassuming.

And so are the stars of the two-person show, Tom Glover and Luke Honnoraty. They have two separate half hour slots each and both begin with a certain characterised awkwardness that soon assuages with ease as they get more into their flow. What ensues is a feeling of easy familiarity running smoothly throughout the run of the show, an inviting and silly experience, as if you were meeting someone at the pub and they enthusiastically told you coherently strung together anecdotes of their lives.

Both harking from Devon, they have a lot to say about where they are from and what results from their existence in a rural town. A town where the populace can ruin even the sophistication of a newly arrived Waitrose.

Glover begins with small-talk kind of humour about the Devonian ability to laugh and the costs of the Fringe for performers. Though his ensuing topics, such as culture differences in Britain and Fifty Shades of Grey, are well-trodden ones, he muses on them with panache. His ‘yokel’ accent is gold and his interaction with the crowd is perfect. What remains with me is his ability to create great mental images, like the less glamorous vantage point of a water birth.

Honnoraty’s set embodies the title of the show more; his comedy revolves mainly around his upbringing - centred on food, mainly - and his resulting character as an adult. The at-once modest and self-affirming title, Small Town Heroes, parallels with Honnoraty’s stories of hilariously defeating situations for him followed by small victories - mainly Honnoraty getting the last word, or his inability to resist his childish urges. There is something uncomfortably self-indulgent about Honnoraty recounting to the audience about all the times he was hilarious in the past, but – to give him credit - he was hilarious.

Both really did get into their stories, and came out with great ad-libbed jokes, surprising themselves at how funny they can be. Confidence in their comedy was their greatest pitfall: some quite big jokes were told with winced uncertainty, and this became a disarming quality. In my opinion, there is a strong future for these two fresh-faced comics. Right now, Small Town Heroes is a great show to accompany an easy evening in the pub.

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