Review: Comedy at the Cronx Brewery

By - Tuesday 14th October, 2014

Paul Dennis samples a barrel of laughs at Croydon’s premier brewery

Kevin Day on stage at Comedy at the Cronx.
Photo by Liz Sheppard-Jones, used with permission.

Raise a glass to the Cronx Brewery for its new venture: ‘Comedy at the Cronx’. On the face of it a brave move – Wednesday nights in Croydon – and dare I say it, New Addington, aren’t renowned for entertainment opportunities of this kind, and I really hope that after this encouraging start there will be more to come.

Organising anything in a brewery has comedic overtones all to itself, but this well-supported event on the evening of Wednesday 8th October turned out to be a triumph.

Cronx founders Mark Russell and Simon Dale set up the gig with a good cast of comedians, and naturally a plentiful supply of Cronx ‘pop’. It would be rude of me not to mention the ales on tap, Kotchin and Standard – both are what CAMRA would probably class as ‘session ales,’ coming in below 4% alcohol by volume, but are nevertheless full of flavour and very easy to drink. Cheers! Hic!

Holly Walsh compered and linked the evening with elan, warming the enthusiastic audience up well with some good observational riffing and identifying the comics’ ‘target in the front row’ for the evening.

Stage at the Cronx brewery.
Photo by Liz Sheppard-Jones, used with permission

The main set acts were Alistair Green, Dane Baptiste and Kevin Day, all offering ‘edgy’ observational and anecdotal humour that drew a warm response from the audience.

But here’s the thing – is joke telling becoming a lost art? Because looking back on the evening, not a single one was there to be found.

Well, I suppose real life is funny enough, and I was richly entertained by all four of the stand-ups on show. Judging from the warm reception that each received, I wasn’t alone.

Alistair Green – all male angst and seemingly never more than a heartbeat away from the next social humiliation, set us rolling, and also touched on one of the leitmotifs of our household: ‘Snakes On A Plane - what’s all that about then?’ Like Alistair, we have: “…so – Anusol. What is that for?” writ large in the context of ‘the bleeding obvious’. It’s nice to know that we are not alone…

The stand out performer for me was Dane Baptiste – brilliant material, superbly delivered, in a largely deadpan style that occasionally exploded into justified outrage. Baptiste is very savvy, erudite and clearly a student of comedy. I noticed a sly reworking of a conceit from the late Peter Cook’s ‘Interesting Facts’ routine – always a winner with me and very welcome.

Kevin Day closed the show with a tightrope walking stint of what is comedically acceptable. Unarguably the edgiest of the talents on show, he produced some high quality moments, but for me flawed an otherwise strong set with a bit too much interplay with an audience member where there seemed to be an assumption that the person was known to us all. This led to some of the references being a bit obscure and a feeling of exclusion.

All in all though, this was a good range of turns, and I’d happily see any of them again, hopefully back at the Cronx with more laughter on tap.

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Paul Dennis

Paul Dennis

An award-winning journalist, Paul has worked on angling titles for much of his career, including 16 years as deputy editor of Angler's Mail and 4 years as editor of Total Sea Fishing magazine. He is a regular freelance contributor for a wide array of non-angling-related titles, author of two books on angling and a widely-followed authority on the subject.

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