Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 8.5/10
Cast: Liam Hale, Sean Stokes.
Somewhere in the dim and distant past there was handed down with great pride, a diktat that suggested emerging talent should be given time to grow, the insistence that the performer would be given whatever they needed to bring their comedy to the foreground, even if it took a couple of years of honing and shaping the sketches or the big idea; it was perhaps a halcyon time when The Goons for example were to become the absolute Kings of all they surveyed.
It is a premise that once again should bear fruit as Jim Alsbalstian’s Human Zoo comes to the point where they should be heard by many more ears than is possible in a theatre setting.
As part of the Liverpool Comedy Festival, Liam Hale and Sean Stokes brought their unnerving and hugely entertaining show to 81 Renshaw Street and stole the hearts of those who came to see them.
It should be treated as a call out to the B.B.C., the once keeper of the flame of nurturing comic genius, to guide Liam Hale and his partner Sean Stokes in their future as performers. In the mould of The Goons, Monty Python, The Mary Whitehouse Experience and other sacred British comedy classics that were taken on with progressive and revolution in mind, Jim Alsbalstian’s Human Zoo be treated as one that really gets the dark humour, the absurdity of life in one laughter filled hour.
It is a call that comes from the funny bone soul of anybody who witnessed the pair’s performance at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe or those who found them endearing and magical during this year’s comedy festival in Liverpool. A joy to watch, Liam Hale and Sean Stokes wrap themselves in the audience’s affections and slowly lift the lid on their collective insanity, one that really allows free laughter to reign supreme.
Jim Alsbalstian’s Human Zoo is the spark in new comedy that you always wish to find, one that can transfer to the radio and beyond, the one in which the madness of comedy is truly treated with the respect it deserves.
For other events on during the Funny Looking Fringe during the Liverpool Comedy Festival go to www.funnylooking.co.uk.
Ian D. Hall