With Komedia’s Krater Comedy Club dominating the weekend’s quota for comedy with consistently high standard stand-up, it must be a real challenge for any other comedy act to meet the audience’s expectations. The flip side of this is that Brighton’s comedy attending audiences know how to laugh and how to have a good time. This is particularly important in improvised comedy which relies heavily on audience participation such as The Noise Next Door.
The show was by no means your average compilation of stand-up acts, with a quintet of performers, joined by two special guests, on stage and all participating for the majority of the night. Imagine ‘Mock The Week’ but all the contestants working together to create a coherent two hour show rather than throwing in one-liners to get “points” for their team. By working together, The Noise Next Door are a truly formidable force of creative comedy at the peak of excellence.
The show was divided into three different types of sketch: musical numbers based entirely on audience generated material, physical situational comedy (again generated from audience material) and guest comedians performing stand-up slots before getting involved with the other sketches. These elements were mixed together well like ingredients of a cocktail, shaken up and served over ice with fruit on top to garnish.
The night opened with a hilarious improvised song about a new 70mph speed limit being enforced in Brighton by Mario, by penalty of spanking if caught not complying. With clever rhymes, funny voices and crazy actions it was a great start to the night, swiftly followed by a manic search for a solution to the problem of Tom being stuck to a football by tiramisu.
The first of the two guests was Canadian potty mouth Paul Myrehaug, whose anecdotes about being thrown in a drunk tank for unintentionally assaulting a police officer with a meatball sub and unicorn fantasies were a little out there, but generally received reasonably well. I thought his use of all five microphones to move across the stage was a nice touch however his contributions to the improv later on showed that he was not as practiced as the others in that area of comedy.
After a very skilled piece of physical comedy and mime where Tom (another Tom) and Matt were portraying all the props required in a search for a magic lamp, located in a home for dementia sufferers located on Machu Picchu, the second guest stand-up was Romesh Ranganathan. He talked about Indian culture, veganism and parenting in a side-splitting set, which was followed by a brutal interpretation of what Father’s Day would be like with his family, with the guys from TNND playing him, his wife and his two children, a cross-dressing 4-year-old and a feral 2-year-old, with Romesh sat on the side of the stage, squeaking a dog toy if they were accurate and tooting a horn if not. This was followed by the unexpected welcoming to the stage of his actual family, the children seeming happy and his wife taking it all in good spirits.
After an interval the show continued with much of the same, with the second half starting off by acting out several headlines that were written down by the audience during the break. The highlight of this for me was the three-way comedy carousel that was linking together three different sketches together via the topic of STD’s; A Loose Women show, a reggae song and a film that was Pretty Woman meets Thriller. The juxtaposition of these sketches worked very well and as with the rest of the show, was very well received.
The finale of the show was a boy band song based on the life on an audience member who was brought to sit up on stage to hear her beautiful ballad. The vodka-loving, marmalade-hating Marketing student who had aspirations to go to Thailand was mildly grilled, with criticisms of her “mickey-mouse degree”, the length of her denim shorts and an arsenal or semi-crude sexual puns (not unlike any other boy band song though!). After the initial look of “Get me out of here!!!” she seemed to enjoy it towards the end, before quietly shuffling back to her seat, probably with a thing or two to say to her friends who nominated her to go up.
By far the most impressive part of the show is the speed of which they manage to generate new and genuinely funny material, adapt to unexpected situations verbally and physically and perform in several different accents (some of which were better than others but for me the only thing funnier than somebody putting on a good accent is somebody trying and not quite getting it, so in my eyes that worked to their favour!).
The show is a regular at Komedia, however they will be going up to perform daily at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival so will not be back until after the summer. For fans of comedy, stand-up or sitcoms, the show will be sure to tickle your funnybone from start to finish and the best part is that with improvised comedy, every night is a different performance! Check them out when you can! For more information or to buy a DVD, visit their website below.