REVIEW: Carl Donnelly and fellow stand-ups raise funds for St Mary’s School

From left: Ash Frith, Wendy Wason, Carl Donnelly, Tiff Stevenson and Tom Toal
From left: Ash Frith, Wendy Wason, Carl Donnelly, Tiff Stevenson and Tom Toal

Comedy Night, Anchor Hotel, Horsham, Wednesday, May 18

For many people of a certain age going out on a Wednesday night is an alien concept so on that basis alone the evening of comedy at Horsham’s Anchor Hotel was a step into the unknown.

But the effort of getting spruced up during the middle of the week was well worth it due to the array of talent on display. Organised by parent Norma Hudson-Pawsey, the event raised an impressive £1,178 for the St Mary’s CE Primary School and there was much anticipation among the audience of more than 100 following a successful comedy night, in aid of the same good cause, three years ago.

The compere for the evening was Carl Donnelly, a seasoned performer on the stand-up circuit who used to live in Horsham. Both he, his four fellow performers and the venue offered their services for free, meaning the proceeds go straight to the school.

Donnelly set the tone by making a beeline for two groups of local teachers who had turned out in force and it was immediately established what subject would tickle the majority of this audience – children.

He was adept at making a connection with the audience, which got them sufficiently warmed up for the first act of the night, Ash Frith. The biggest laugh of his routine was for the story about his quick-witted young son making a mug of him in a queue for a campsite toilet.

The next act, Tom Toal, an imposing bearded chap, had the crowd on his side after he opene d by showing his wedding ring and apologising to the ladies (and the men) for the fact he was off the market.

After the interval the host returned to the stage for round two of playful fun with the crowd before making way for mum-of-three Wendy Wason whose energetic, near-the-knuckle set was a hit.

The final performer was Tiffany Stevenson, a regular on television panel shows, who had the toughest job of the night – finishing off proceedings. Her pedigree and quick fire delivery kept the audience onside as she tackled subjects such as equal rights, Donald Trump and David Cameron.

It is hoped we don’t have to wait three years for the next one.

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