Live at Brighton Dome review: Nina Conti headlines cackle-worthy comedy night

It’s a comedic feast presented every month.

Nina Conti SUS-190810-161830001
Nina Conti SUS-190810-161830001

Live at Brighton Dome is a relatively new and welcome addition to the city’s comedy scene, and tonight (October 5) is a Michelin five-course special bursting with ways to make you cackle.

The MC presiding over the mischief is Jessica Fostekew. She is warm, hilarious, confident, and often biting in her jabs at audience members. She brings a lot of energy to the stage as she works the crowd and warms them up for each act. Her material ranges from parenting and worst jobs to pondering on feminist flirting. Which makes sense, she co-hosts the enormously popular Guilty Feminist podcast, which has reached more than 10 million people.

The stage is hit by a hurricane in the shape of Lou Sanders. Bold, unapologetic, erratic, she darts, flitting from one stream of consciousness to the next before pulling it all back together to her original point like so many pieces of string. Her ‘Man Ban’ is the central thread but Sanders pivots onto tangents and shock joke topics. In the age of Fleabag, it’s a wonder to see this outpouring of grisly, visceral, imperfect womanhood.

Lou Sanders

Glenn Moore is a force of hilarious incredulity, who seems to have stumbled into comedy and discovered he was actually pretty good at it. A former newsreader, he takes aim at weather forecasters, and meaningless school lessons, unleashing one-liners after one-liners which are all the more sharp with his delivery. Just effortlessly funny.

Angelos Epithemiou walks on stage to children’s music. “I asked for the Smiths, not the Smurfs!” he cries. Some might remember Dan Skinner’s character from the BBC show Shooting Stars. Bizarre and incongruous, at one horrifying moment he leaves the stage, taking the microphone with him, and plunges amongst the audience. It’s all a self-reflexive joke, though, which seems to be a running theme.

The final offering is headliner Nina Conti, whose act is utterly unique and joyous to behold. Sharply self-aware of the strangeness of ventriloquism, Conti opens with a sassy, dirty-minded little monkey. But the best bit of her performance comes with some masterfully orchestrated masks.

She reacts to the unfolding shenanigans with infectious laughter – as if she is not the master puppeteer intricately manipulating all the strings. At one point four hapless members of the audience are coaxed on stage, and Conti juggles multiple separate character voices. Everything is very fresh, she is constantly improvising. It’s pure talent which she executes with such precision while seeming to have a brilliant time. And so everyone else does, too. Remarkable.

Jess Fostekew

That rounds off another cheek-aching night at the Dome. Whether you’re familiar with the lineup or not, it is well worth a punt at this comedy banquet.

Glenn Moore