Comedy Review: The Awkward Silence + Guests @ The Wilmington Arms

It is assumed that The Awkward Silence have a huge, just enormous sense of irony because, uh, admission: your correspondent kind of stood them up, once. We agreed to go and see them in October and then we forgot [1]. We plum forgot. We apologised, but we forgot. Sorry, everybody. We understand if you personally feel let down.

And so here is the thing, and here is how The Awkward Silence (that’s Ralph Jones and Vyvyan Almond) got us (me) (Joel Golby) back: by being just as tardy as all get out. Seriously: If you go to their monthly comedy night, The Awkward Silence + Guests, expect to wait. They started a good 20 minutes late and then stopped in the middle for a half-hour interval (a half-hour! Interval!) meaning we were let out of a show that started at 7.45pm at 10.25pm. Like: Eat your dinner before you go to this night. Buy some crisps at the bar. Reader, your stomach will grumble.

But more importantly, onto them. Here’s the thing about compering a show: It is very difficult for the audience to get a true sense of an act when they are doing little snippets of bits between other people’s sets. In a way, this goes double for sketch teams: there’s a momentum you get with sketches, something intangible and indefinite, that is hard to capture in a single piece. And as a result of that, The Awkward Silence suffered a little when contrasted with the other acts.

But that’s because the quality of the ‘+ Guests’ part of proceedings was so high. Seriously: grossly, disgustingly high. First up was Joseph Morpurgo, who is in the same vein of theatrical comedy (Wait! Come back!) as Max & Ivan, who closed the show. Morpurgo did a series of short, sweet monologues, inventive and funny, while Max & Ivan – who are just so good at what they do it almost tips us right through the spectrum of emotions, so far that we crank through laughter and hysteria right the way through to despair – were, well, Max & Ivan. Rory O’Keeffe seems to have too many letters in his name but it didn’t seem to bother him on-stage, delivering that kind of ‘I just got out of University but I actually have things to talk about’ style of comedy that is so hard to nail as well as he did. Paul Fung had a beard and was gruffly brilliant, like if Rufus Hound had swallowed Jack Dee. All were excellent.

So we guess what we are saying is this – The Awkward Silence may err a little too far into the ‘look how long we can maintain this funny voice for!’ side of things with their own sketches, but as comedy curators they cannot be faulted. Their monthly comedy night is well, well, well worth the £5 entry fee. Just, take our advice: do not make plans to meet up with your already mad-at-you girlfriend afterwards. You have been warned.

The Awkward Silence + Guests is a vaguely monthly show at The Wilmington Arms (EC1). The next performance is pencilled in for 29 January though, what with Christmas and that.

[1] This all-encompassing ‘we’ is part of editorial guidelines only and should not be used as a slur upon the Londonist brand. Joel Golby was acting alone when he fell asleep instead of going to a comedy gig two months ago. He does not speak for this website, which is otherwise staffed by extremely professional people.

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