With the saturation of comedy on TV and even, to some extent, in live venues how on Earth can a new club stand out from the crowd? And how does modern live comedy move away from where it seems to have found itself – the background to a work night out, gang of lads enjoying one too many beers or the dread of the stag party?
Four Candles seems to have considered this modern problem with live comedy and come up with something that goes against most of the set rules of today’s landfill-and-lager shows. With a strict policy of no stags or hens and letting the acts do the talking, Four Candles delivers a great alternative night of laughs to the more raucous examples on offer. Comics are given time to breath in front of an audience that will listen attentively and go to enjoy their comedy.
This is exemplified by MC Jim Smallman who, rather than go down the route of bombast, provides a slow burn through the night that allowed the audience and the night to build organically. It was nice if not a little unusual to see a compere work the crowd rather than juggle drunks.
The opening act seems a perfect fit for this night. Being an Indian, born in Pakistan and living in Birmingham, Mickey Sharma mixed Bollywood nursery rhymes and dirty musical dexterity was wonderfully different.
Headliner Ben Schofield (left) is a lover of words – his verbose delivery makes his set a joy to listen to on several levels. Schofield’s big, beardy presence makes laughter bounce from table to table and by the end he’s fully galvanised the audience into one laughing mass.
Four Candles provides a welcome platform for acts that might not usually play the city – and hear acts without members of the audience claiming all the attention.