Live Review: Musical Comedy Awards Final 2019, Bloomsbury Theatre: Page 2 of 2

Last up in the first half was 2018 finalist Joe Jacobs, who brought things up to date and sent them flying into the past with his rap-based act. Jacobs is a skilful performer who, like Doc Brown, could probablly be a professional rapper if he didn't choose the comedy direction. Here he went for laughs in a big way with a rap to the themes from Grange Hill and the Antiques Roadshow. It was clever stuff and on a weaker night might have earnt him a place on the podium.

As I wrote earlier the line-up was so strong a top three could have been selected from the first half, but there were more contenders after the interval. Comedic German electro-rap superstar Charlie Partridge seemed to have some technical issues with his sampling/looping, or maybe it was part of his act. There was definitely an intentional air of unpredictability here. Not always funny, but it certainly had a spontaneous feel to it. His biggest laugh however came when he stumbled and fell over as he finished, which definitely looked unscripted to me, though he did manage to style it out well. 

Matt Hutson was a classic one-man-and-his-guitar singer/songwriter act. Probably the most low-energy turn of the night which worked in his favour, making him stand out among the various loons. His music was conventional, but his lyrics were inventive. His name did seem familiar though - probably because he was also a finalist last year and the year before, when he came third. 

If audience cheers counted, duo Maris Piper would have romped home to victory. Their pop parodies were tightly written and full of gags. Sometimes – as with Adam Kay's song send-ups - you can see the pay-offs a mile away because the lines have to rhyme, but that didn't stop the laughs from coming in a flood. This was highly relatable material about avocados and property ladders set to singalong songs from the likes of Abba, Bowie and Robbie Williams. In fact audience cheers did count - while the judges warded the duo third place they were given the Audience Favourite Award.

Louis Burgess did a sample-based set using sound bites, raps, beatboxing, live voice-over and more. There were some great moments but despite putting bags of energy into his performance maybe not quite enough there to satisfy all the judges.

And finally came Stepdads, who were recently runners up in the Leicester Square Theatre's Sketch-Off competition. Their geeky run-down of what it takes to be a stepfather – ball-catching is apparenely essential – went down equally well here and bagged them another runner-up spot. On another night with a following wind they could have easily won. Still, coming second is something to tell your stepkids about. 





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