Scottish comedy circuit regular Jay Lafferty is back at the Fringe with a slightly different setup this year. Rather than a full set for an hour, Lafferty is entertaining audiences with her own material before passing the stage onto two different guests each afternoon. Today’s lineup features Kathleen Hughes and Gareth Mutch.
Firstly, Lafferty welcomes in the modest crowd with her usual friendly demeanour, quickly creating an easy atmosphere of familiarity. There is a feeling that she isn’t even performing memorised pieces, merely sharing stories with us as if we are friends – stories littered with brilliant turns of phrase, hilarious punchlines, and perfect timing. The content covers her fertility journey, big birthdays and a spa trip turned ridiculous, and between each, her experience as a compère is apparent as she interacts easily with audience members.
Kathleen Hughes (also hosting her own comedy lineup each day), takes to the stage next. Her routine contains more adult humour, focusing on lockdown, relationships, and sex. Although the energy is more muted than host Lafferty, Hughes delivers well-constructed punchlines with some unexpected swerves. The anecdotes feel honest and there are also a few very dark – and effective – quips in there.
Finishing off the show is our final Scottish act, Gareth Mutch, who keeps the momentum going with his boisterous attitude that fills the room. Much of his set involves interaction with audience members who happily co-operate. Mutch cleverly moulds his existing jokes to suit the crowd responses and weaves this into his overarching story of how he got engaged. His delivery is animated and energetic and although one or two jokes take just a little too long to work though, his liveliness is enough to keep us laughing.
Lafferty returns briefly to wrap up proceedings and it’s clear the show has been a success. Audience members are already scrambling for donations and the mood is buoyant. In Lafferty’s skilled hands, Club Sets is a safe bet for an entertaining hour.