It’s a Friday night in the middle of summer, it’s wet, it’s windy, it’s Manchester. We’d expect nothing less! Luckily tonight’s entertainment was on round the corner at the Kings Arms in Salford. We’d left the warmth of our flat to brave the elements to see the debut show for one of our favourite acts of 2016 – Ad Dougie Douglas. His debut show ‘Happy Birthday Clarky!’ was running over 2 nights as part of the Greater Manchester Fringe. This was third time seeing ‘Dougie’ having previously seen him at the Comedy Balloon and in the surreal surroundings of Sham Bodie.
The Kings Arms is home to a host of shows over the Fringe period and we find it bustling with people waiting for the two gigs to start. We follow the signs leading us down to the basement where tonight’s festivities are to take place. We squeeze into our seats in the small theatre and await the start of the show. The MC for the evening is Sham Bodie’s Ben Tonge whose surreal style, engaging the audience and bringing them into the act and random observations help warm up the crowd and ready for the show. He also informs us he has just had a baby and is enjoying his first beer since he gave birth. Congratulations Ben!
The show starts with a bang (literally) as Dougie shares out party poppers for people to really get things kicking off and celebrating Clarky’s birthday in true Mid-Cheshire style! Only it doesn’t appear that Clarky hasn’t shown up…
Dougie starts by telling us some of his own ‘jokes’ told in his own magnificently haphazard and chaotic style whereby a simple knock-knock joke ends with him acting out a complex fight scene in which Dougie plays both parts!
The show however proves a change of pace from when we’d seen him in the past. Incorporating the audience and inviting them into Dougie’s ‘fun zone’, party treats for Clarky’s birthday and cameos from a human Turkey twizzler and his Uncle Ronnie. All this while he whips the crowd up into a paranoid frenzy and cult like worship! The show is a surreal adventure and frightening glimpse into Dougie’s warped mind.
This was his first independent show, however we very much doubt it will be his last as he is clearly a character with huge potential and on this showing more than enough to engage an audience over a longer period. For up to date info on upcoming gigs you can follow him on Twitter or visit the British Comedy Guide.