Red Raw @ The Stand Comedy Club, (see map), every Monday doors @ 19:30

With the vice like grasp of winter still firmly wrapped around our necks like an over-tight scarf, I wondered if the audience would be as sparse as the winter sunshine. But the cold was not enough to stop a sell-out crowd at Edinburgh’s premier comedy venue: The Stand.

The Red Raw evening is a chance for new comics to showcase their talent (or not). The level of ability, material and nerves may vary but with an established compère (Siân Bevan) and a headline act (Simon O’Keeffe) to finish the evening off, you’re in safe hands.

Deftly held together by Bevan, the stand out performers were:

Julia Sutherland – at times a gentle humour but always backed up with an ice-pick like punch line.

Richard Hanrahan – a wordsmith with real panache, perhaps too high brow for that night’s audience but with a polished performance.

Sir Roderick Tweedy-Duffer – a faux-Tory politician, the crowd took a while to get going but soon fell under his spell. This was like being back in the 80s, where no comedy night was complete without someone taking the piss out of the Tories.

Hannah Baillie – this being only her third show, she showed few nerves and a command of the stage that was beyond her tender age of 19, she needs a firmer grip on her material but still showed real promise.

The headline act, Simon O’Keeffe, proved to all the difference between ‘up-and-coming’ and ‘here-all-ready’. An Edinburgh regular since 2004, he knows how to interact with the audience, something largely missing from the other performers during the evening. O’Keeffe deserves a larger profile than he already has and is perhaps one festival away from it.

At only £2 the Red Raw evening is better value for money than almost any night time activity, this week’s show was better than many and you will always have to take the risk on nights like these, but you have the chance of seeing the next big thing before anyone else.