It’s not often Preston gets a new comedy club, so I went along to see whether Manchester’s famous Frog & Bucket comedy club could pull it off up the M61 in Preston.Advertisement
The venue has been cleaned up and repainted since it was Coda and they’ve done a good job. The first bar is becoming the ‘Green Room’ and will be open all day for eating and drinking, and on the opening night it was used as a VIP bar (you’ll be pleased to know Blog Preston was not a VIP, so no free wine for us). The main room has seen the stage moved right to the back wall, creating far more space and allowing plenty of tables and chairs to be laid out, in close proximity to each other, to give a great close-knit atmosphere.
You can get food at your table, with a decent selection of snacks such as nachos, and our table managed to secure the first ever plate of nachos ever prepared in the Frog & Bucket kitchen. After wolfing these down and sipping a pint or two, we were in the mood for some comedy.
MC Jason Cook took to the stage and his Geordie humour was decent enough and he got the crowd worked up for the first act, Penwortham lad Dan Nightingale.
Nightingale has been building a following and a reputation in the last 12 months and he took the opportunity of playing in front of a home crowd to do as many local jokes as he could, referencing all the way down to street names. It was an amusing set and the crowd lapped it up.
Steve Shanyaski followed up with what was the best performance of the night. He’s of Polish decent but Manchester born and bred and was very, very funny in parts. His song at the end about internet dating was a classic and had the audience in stitches. His look at relationships was particularly amusing.
MC Jason Cook kept the atmosphere going, there were plenty of intervals, and Smug Roberts took to the stage for his headline act. Within minutes the stage lights went out and Roberts continued, with a security guard lending an audience member a torch to allow Roberts to continue the set. Roberts was funny, but his set felt a little labored, and the lights going out didn’t help – as you suddenly realise how important it is to be able to see a comedian’s face when they are telling a joke. The lights came back on, after much faffing about in the technical box, and Roberts finished his set with the room joining in with a Take That sing-song in a joke linked to making love to your girlfriend from behind in the front room.
The standard of comedy was good for an opening night, there was a great atmosphere and it looks as though the Frog & Bucket will be a great addition to Preston’s comedy scene.