Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Mr Drayton's Dinner date at the Stand

Mr Drayton's Dinner date at the Stand series one episode one, occurred  this last Saturday. Being the first of it's kind one went with wild expectations of all sorts of things happening, but in the end it went so well that even Alex Collier, who's brain child this was, had little reason to worry. By the way, since we are in the desolate North, dinner does in fact mean meal we eat in the middle of the day and so it was that the event ran from 1pm to 3pm, which I'm sure came as a slight shock to some people. I myself having just ate, chose to have a pint of the fine local stout sold by the Stand's bar. Which brings me to the other point, it was billed as a diner date that cost £3 to get in but if you wanted to eat, which I assure you should want to, it would be £15. I can tell you  that if anybody was put off by this, I didn't hear any complaints, in fact I would say most people ordered the meal that consisted of a lovely large salad, followed by a choice of kangaroo burger or a vegetarian option that closely resembled the kangaroo burger, then strawberries with a sorbet drizzled liberally with champagne, finished off by coffee or tea.  Well worth the price of entry and every reason to skip that two for a tenner special on Dean street.

Was it funny? Was it worth two hours in the middle of the day you might have normally spent at the
Grainger Market or the Byker Morrison's or even walking up and down the Shields road popping into one small shop after another ?  Well for one you won't often find Steve Drayton on the Shields road, then again, I have bumped into him there more often than I have in front of RPM, but I digress,  if you do want see Steve, he's best seen doing what he does best, being funny. Steve Drayton's Dinner date is one of those times.

Andy the Chef
The premise is mostly nothing new, a genial host sits down and talks to two colleagues from the comedy world about what makes them tick. You never know what will come up or who'll show up, and by that I mean in the crowd as well. If you think some of the people there act like they think they're comedians, it's because they probably are. What's new of course is that we now get to interview victims like Andy the Chef, who judging by his reactions was not expecting to be grilled about sauces "through it" as he brought out each course. As it happens he managed well enough in the presence of three princes of puns.

The new bit was  the introduction of  the thing that makes it a dinner date. Who would you invite to a meal at your table, living, dead, fictitious and why. As a continuing premise it should work as long as the quality of the comics is maintained. Based on the suggestions of each comic a series of pub quiz like questions were asked with answers that didn't necessarily come close to what was being asked. At times it took on a Qi feel with the panel and the audience getting into personal anecdotes, some deeply IMDB moments and other times gags that depended more on good timing than good taste. For pudding, Uncle Steve chose from a selection of audience choices for dinner companions which led to more insightful answers, banter about not knowing who that was, English embarrassment, more jokes, and of course throughout we got to vote on which of the living, dead and fictitious guests would be allowed to come, more on that later. Oh and the points don't matter.
Damian Clark
  On the bill were Damian Clark & Chris Stokes both fresh from the Edinburgh Fringe.  Damian the more in your face Australian comic being the polar opposite of the Woody Allen like Chris, who's personal life was taken out for an airing despite numerous protestations that seemed at least at times genuine, but not so genuine it didn't stop him from answering. Sensitivity was not invited and if you are easily offended by the slightest bit of controversy and mild discomfort I suggest you stay away. I had told Steve before the show that my wife and I were ok with a bit of personal abuse, but he assured me that it would be a clean show with no abuse of  paying guests. Clearly he had a different definition of clean to say... that of Rev Paisley, but it wasn't your standard comedy night of pick on the people brave enough sit in front. There were a few blue bits and that's why it's fun to be an adult that's old enough to vote and drink.
Chris Stokes

First up was the Bill Murray v David Sedaris debate with the witty New Yorker decisively beating the apparently less than pleasant in real life and notorious difficult person Bill Murray. 1-0 to Chris so far.  Next up we got the very dead Richard Pryor and even more dead John Keats, during which we learned that comedians get thirsty too. So thirsty in fact that in the absence of a bottle of water which everybody else got, Damian Clark kindly poured some of the water from the vase of flowers into a few glasses that waited forlornly for something suitable to pour into them and made sure Chris was well lubricated.  I think Richard Pryor won that one ( it was close), but as I said before, points don't matter. Lastly we got the fictional round that got the creative juices going..... Father Christmas v Hannibal Lecter. Father Christmas had a lot going for him and was responsible for some of the more interesting improv, but Hannibal Lecter described as "not a role model as such" but "Urbane and witty" prompted a debate about the ethics of  inviting somebody over who might eat you for afters. This round too was close and  frankly I can't recall the result, but for the sheer danger and adrenaline of talking to a maniac  and hoping he considers you good enough to live, Father Christmas may have won.

If I have any criticism of the event, it's minor and it's just that all things considered, it's hard to interview people with a mouthful of food half the time and I'm sure more than a few bits of spontaneous wit were swallowed along with the veggie burger or Kangaroo. Next time I'm sure that bit of  logistics will have been dealt with. On the whole, a great concept and well worth the price of entry. Watch the edited highlights, please ignore the man taking notes at the front, I have no idea who he is, any resemblance to me is pure coincidence. Next show 28th of September at the Stand Newcastle.

Next show I'm informed will be in about a month and you should follow Steve Drayton's blog for more details. In the mean time his regular Thursday night floating party of the frostiest people in Newcastle continues with the return of the latest series of Record Player events.

THU 12 SEPTEMBER - Paul Simon – Graceland
Fri 20 SEPTEMBER - Blondie – Parallel Lines plus special blockbuster quiz
THU 26 SEPTEMBER - New Order – Low-Life vs The Pet Shop Boys – Actually
Starts 19:15 (doors 18:45) Digital Lounge. Strictly no entry after 19:15.
Tickets: £5

No comments: