Comedy Club at the Royal Hotel: Review
Not being a Southender, I wasn't sure what to expect of The Comedy Club at The Royal Hotel, but as we ascended the stairs of the historic venue we were blown away by the period decor and classy surroundings in the grand Ballroom. Little did we know the raucous night that lay ahead of cheeky giggles and full on laughs - most inappropriate in the best of ways
The fact that table service was offered was a massive help, let’s face it, no one wants to sidle up to the bar mid-act, that’s a sure-fire way to get picked on, the staff were very attentive and discreet, bringing over our drinks order with minimal fuss and even less attention drawn.
Some, however, weren’t so lucky, the poor chap in the front row for example. To be fair to him though, you don’t wear your hair a’la Russel Brand circa 2009 without developing a thick skin, and that theory was fully tested at the hands of compere Roger Monkhouse and his razor-sharp wit. Monkhouse makes effortless banter with the audience, deriving belly-laughs from the most unlikely of places.
Karen Bayley delivered a hilariously self deprecating and tongue-in-cheek set detailing romatic disasters, regional dialects and well-pried bedroom secrets courtesy of the audience.
Rudi Lickwood’s friendly patter soon belies a masterful touch between irreverent notes on grand-fatherhood and uncompromisingly savage notes on race and stereotyping, all washed down with a trademark grin held just long enough to bring out the humour in the most awkward of encounters.
The interactive element of the night came in the form of a best joke competition hand-out, filled in by the audience, which saw some very inventive ways Prince Andrew could be linked to a lawnmower, I’ll leave that to your imagination.
Food is available prior to the show, so do bear this in mind if planning to dine, as food is served no later than 7.45pm. A mercy, given that one wouldn’t want to bear the barbs of the those on-stage with a mouth full of hasselback potatoes.
The show begins at 9pm sharp, giving the audience plenty of time to settle in to their surroundings, and imbibe a few libations prior, and it wasn’t soon until the laughs were echoing off the extensive cornice work adorning the ballroom.
Whether you are a circuit-regular tired of schlepping it up to London, or simply in the mood for a different start to your weekend, the Friday comedy nights at Southend’s Royal Hotel is sure to not disappoint, just remember to leave your ego at the door.