James Redmond offered artist introductions in a distinctly approachable manner. He initiated themes and debates of relationships and class (if there is such a thing) that would run long into the night as part of the sets to come. Conversations between James and friendly front row participants lit The Basement bar with a warm sense of community, reassuring the audience and leaving no one isolated.
With a dedication to a detailed exploration of his house, Alun Cochrane started with monotony but soon transformed into something vivid and curious thanks to his brilliant use of over-analysis. Despite the occasional pause, this exhibition of the comic’s lifestyle demonstrated intelligent story-telling and rapid response to (polite) heckles. Mundane might not always have mainstream appeal, but this was a welcome change from more obvious routines.
Hyena lounge were right to have the artists in this order. Katie Mulgrew’s dynamic and enthusiastic candour contrasted effectively with Alun’s dry motif. Her impressive tempo left no space for second thoughts as it charged through a collection of relationship-based scenarios, punctuated only by audience interjections. Despite some gender-based clichés, this set was well-written and culminated in a nod to Star Trek that, without giving anything away, made good use of a soundtrack.
Returning to the themes of the night in a variety of voices and perspectives, Dan Nightingale’s undeniable momentum was an admirable and appropriate finale. His ability to play not only one character but many contradicting one another was gripping to say the very least. Dan’s range of subject matter, including the arrogance of iPhone users and the dilemmas of social masculinity connected well with the audience, maintaining a consistent response throughout.
All four artists used in their formula an element of self-deprecation; something that gives the audience better access to their personalities and idiosyncrasies. This, combined with genuine interest in the home town and considerate audience inclusion, resulted in a night of which Hyena Lounge should be proud.