Monday, 18 February 2019

REVIEW: Lloyd Griffith: All Rounder - The Frog And Bucket, Manchester.

Lloyd Griffith describes himself as a comedian, a choirboy and an ‘aspiring’ goalkeeper – as well as a lover of his hometown of Grimsby. He is also very well known to the football fan community as the co-host of Soccer AM on Sky every Saturday morning. Tonight he was performing his new stand-up titled ‘All-rounder’ to a packed audience at The Frog and Bucket in Manchester – and when I say packed I mean exactly that. All of the tables had been removed and replaced with rows of seats to accommodate everyone.

It was very clear early on that this Manchester audience would be a tough one for Lloyd – many of them had made the most of the local facilities on a Sunday afternoon around the Northern Quarter area and were ‘well oiled’ by the time he took to the stage.

Lloyd arrived on stage to a chorus of cheers, and then proceeded to tell us that he was the support act for his support act – with an initial 20 minute slot where he warmed up the already very hot audience. He was heckled constantly throughout this support slot but he dealt with all of them expertly and it became apparent just why he was out there this early on. He got to know some of the members of the front rows which he would later weave into his show.

Griffith then introduced his support act, initially calling him Luke but then realising that was the previous night and corrected himself that it was Jack Gleadow.

Gleadow arrived to the stage, wearing a flat cap, a scarf and carrying what looked to be a child’s scooter over his shoulder. He immediately summonsed two burly blokes from the audience to help him with his opening sketch. One of them running up and down the back of the stage and the other holding the scooter to make it look like they were moving on the scooter – he expertly carried this off with some movie references with the use of some musical clips. Very simply ideas but very expertly executed and had the audience in fits of laughter.

The support act Gleadow continued to impress through his slot, he was very confident in his material and almost slapstick in the way he delivered it. On the basis of this showing it will not be too long before Gleadow is performing at venues such as the Frog and Bucket as the headliner. Very impressive.

Lloyd Griffith returned to the stage after a short interval and he proceeded to explain how he came to write the show and to discuss a little of the content. Lloyd described how he was given a review when he first started stand-up comedy which stated that he lacked an identity – partly because he doesn’t have a strong regional accent. His experience as a choir singer trains any accent he did have – something he demonstrated by singing a few lines from “ Time to Say Goodbye” by Andrea Bocelli both with and without a Grimsby accent. This was simply brilliant and the audience appreciated this very much – it was also a very good opportunity to hear just how good Griffith the choir singer is.

Griffith is not the average stand-up comedian as he proved with his singing but this was also apparent when he confirmed he could name a fact about any Cathedral in England and invited us shout out names. This very quickly got out of hand with far too many people shouting out place names, but Griffith dealt with this much in the same way as he did with the hecklers – simple and effective, and more importantly very funny.

At the end of the gig, Griffith shook the hand of everyone in the audience and happily posed for photographs for as long as people wanted them. He has developed a show that he should be very proud of. As with all great comedy shows, there is a serious subject underpinning the humour and this is no exception. Lloyd has been doing support slots for big time comedians like Rob Beckett and Jack Whitehall for a few years but now is the time for him to break free as a performer in his own right – something that a packed house at The Frog and Bucket all agree on.

Reviewer - John Fish
on - 17/2/19

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