Thursday, 19 February 2009

Pragmatic Interlude (Break break)

As previously promised, I am about to move on to the Bristol experience, but upon reflection there are a few points about Norwich that I failed to cover and I don't want them to come back to haunt me so I am inserting this pragmatic interlude.

I have mentioned that I was very pleased that the crowd was bathed in dark while the performance took place and even more surprising, the bar was closed down. What this inevitably leads to is................ the break. I have spent years fighting the break. Club managers who want to stretch the show longer and pump more drinks into the crowd are always trying to foist the break on me, and I don't want the break! The break destroys the flow, you have to fight to get their attention back. Comedy is like a movie and the break breaks the mood, the break is, well, a break. Snap! crack! smash! break! Why would anyone wish this malevolent fracturance upon a well-meaning comedy show?

The break is wonderful. Watching the lights go up to signal the punters (read patrons) to rush to expel or acquire fluids, and then settle back in to their seats, discussing the show so far and anticipating the upcoming act(s): this is a fine idea. So whyfore this transformation from villian to hero, why was I blind to the beauty of the break? Quite simply, it is the combination of the bar closing and the lights being dropped along with a pinch of familiarity with the format on the part of those attending. The idea of closing down a bar in order to sell more drinks is slightly counter-intuitive but seems to work very well. I would be interested in shifting a regular Canadian comedy room to this format and seeing how sales change, I would venture that, if anything, they would see an increase.

The combination of factors that I saw that night served to make comedy the sole function of the room while it was taking place. To shut down the pool tables and turn off the t.v.'s helps to focus a pub crowd on a show, but to turn off all the house lights and shut down the bar takes it to another level and ... please mum, can I stay at this level for a while? .... it's pretty here.

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