Chorley Little Theatre is becoming a regular stopping off point on the Northern comedy circuit, punching above its weight by attracting household names such as Jeremy Hardy and Jack Dee, whose recently announced gig sold out in two hours.
Sadly the venue was a long way from being full for Mike Gunn and Sean Collins, which can only be described as a missed opportunity for Chorley comedy fans who decided to pass on this one.
Not that it put the performers off.
Comedians do like to make audience members the butt of their humour and in a less than half full theatre it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.
In Chorley the fish were leaping out of the barrel with targets painted on their bodies, with one man admitting to taping old episodes of Ground Force so that he can ogle Charlie Dimmock.
Gunn could hardly miss when presented with that target, and maybe it’s the readiness of Chorley stand up fans to be humiliated that makes the venue such a hit with comedians. Gunn is a Londoner with a dry delivery somewhat reminiscent of Jo Brand and the looks of Lee Mack.
Admitting he is ‘married to a ginge’, he hopes his children get their genes from him on the basis that it would be better to have no rather than red hair. Unusually, they played this as a two hander, with Collins warming up for Gunn in the first half and Gunn returning the favour at the start of the second before both men appeared on stage for the last 25 minutes.
Collins is a reflective Canadian who has lived in the UK for eight years and loves how we expect our train service to be terrible whereas querying if his train might be late in Germany led to the rail officials thinking he was a terrorist with some prior knowledge of a delay.
He’d done his research on Chorley and ‘there’s no other night life, right?’
His second half set was performed sat on a stool a la Dave Allen. The show ended with them on stage together playing comedy tag, with one cracking a gag before handing the topic over to the other, a format they said they enjoyed.
This was less successful than each on their own, partly because neither man had the chance to get into the flow of things before it was time to hand the baton back. All in all, a good night’s comedy.
A riff on bingo and paedophilia and some advice from Collins on how to get a girlfriend in Canada using a bear trap (‘after 3 or 4 days stuck in that they’ll do anything you want just to get out’) closed the show and left the audience happy.
Just a shame there wasn’t more of one.