Comedy Club with Lucy Porter, Colin Cole

JOHN LAWSON Stand-up comedy has become staple fare in Norwich in recent festivals and the Playhouse is the perfect venue.

JOHN LAWSON

Stand-up comedy has become staple fare in Norwich in recent festivals and the Playhouse is the perfect venue.

Intimate enough not to be intimidating, it positively empowers hecklers, with the comics themselves appreciating the interaction.

The biggest names on the circuit now know that Norwich is a friendly crowd to entertain and are keen to come.

So after Julian Clary on Tuesday and Jimmy Carr on Wednesday it was radio star Lucy Porter and top Australian stand-up Colin Cole.

Two more physically diverse performers could scarcely be imagined – Porter is a petite 5ft while Cole is a mighty 6ft 7in.

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But both were big on laughs.

Extreme Catholic Porter ("My dad's Irish, my mum's Sicilian") dismissed the festival premise of celebrating art in all its diversity in favour of it being a good excuse for getting drunk on a Sunday night and then being so ill as a result that you have time to work out all the anagrams for Armitage Shanks.

Cole meanwhile was unashamedly Australian over his attitude to alcohol and did a great routine in homage to those long-haul flights where an endless supply of free booze is readily available.

His take on aircraft emergency procedures was just hilarious.

The main duo was supported by comedy magician Keith Fields, who compered proceedings and caught the audience by surprise by making a bowl of water appear from a wallet, and self-confessed posh boy Will Smith.

The self-deprecating Smith said he was sorry if people were expecting the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

"There was a mix-up on the bookings and the rapping chappy is currently giving a talk to Eton school chess club," he said.

A pretty full Playhouse lapped it all up. Standup and the festival are here to stay.

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