Live-streamed via Zoom as part of the Bloomsbury Festival, the second Eye Say Eye Say Eye Say showcases a line-up of comedians united by their visual impairments.
With a small audience at Goodenough College for those performing on stage to gain energy from, this feels like a cross between a standard open mic night and a virtual gig, with four of the line-up joining by Zoom.
Comedy is tricky to do well without an engaged and lively audience, so some moments fell a little flat and despite the best efforts of all involved, I felt the atmosphere was affected by too many comics and not enough time for them to develop material.
After a quick opener from MCs Georgie Morrell and Ashrafia Choudhury, we were straight into the comedy proper (four women, nine men). There were occasional laughs in Terry James’s piece about body positivity and menopause, and Amy Bethan Evans’s satire on PIP applications was both direct and educational.
Steven Reed, Naqi Rizvi, Michael Henriques and Stephen Portlock all went down the route of comedy from experience, which made me think about my own viewpoint on using a tap, walking by a visually impaired person, ordering a meal, and making thoughtless remarks.
Experiencing the world from a visually-impaired perspective is something this line-up do every day. They present their everyday with a sideways look which is sometimes blackly comic (Michelle Felix’s dog-sitting), sometimes with a sheen of anger (Maverick and Samuel Brewer on universal credit and “internalised ableism” respectively).
They use props – Portlock’s Great Dane Hamlet, Kirin Saeed’s audio descriptor, Chris Campion’s guitar. Mark Norman dips into politics to find the “delusional idiot”. They mention family (Pingwing and James(, and touch on intimacy (Brewer and Portlock). Self-deprecating one-liners litter the sets, with Campion describing hinself as “an accidental toucher of other people’s privates” and Evans’s “how shit I am at everything”.
I did laugh during almost every act, and now again was pulled up to reflect on how we, as sighted people, are able to take many things for granted. Many of the comics impressed me enough to seek out their work, and all show the promise they may well be able to develop with longer slots.
An uneven evening, with as many jokes missing the mark as those raising a chuckle, Eye Say Eye Say Eye Say was certainly worth the asking price of £5, but perhaps needs more focus and less performers to truly take flight.
Eye Say Eye Say Eye Say was presented by Extant on 17 October.
LouReviews received a complimentary ticket to review Eye Say Eye Say Eye Say.
Image credit: Extant Ltd (Facebook)