Review: Jo Caulfield at the Junction By Jan Gilbert
Sparkling one-liners, keen observational humour, and easy banter with the audience... Jan Gilbert gives Jo Caulfield's stand-up show a 'don't miss' rating!
There can't be many comedians who can lay claim to an 80-minute set of pure comedy gold, but Jo Caulfield – the writer behind Graham Norton's comic diatribes – is definitely one of them, as she proved to a packed house at the Junction on Friday night.
No one was safe as Caulfield kicked off the show passing a watchful eye over the assembled crowd. "Is that a couple up there?" she asked a man and woman who probably thought they'd be safely out of the comedian's firing line up in the balcony. Their reply did little to save them from further mocking, much to the rest of the audience's amusement.
After Caulfield finished sweeping her eagle eyes over the audience in search of more mirth-making material, she moved on to her main subject for the first half of the evening: anything that made her annoyed or angry, the idea being that writing down whatever annoys you releases your anger. As the second half would cover anything that irritated her audience, "by the end of the show", reasoned Caulfield, "we'll either feel much better or we'll all be very, very angry!"
And with that she was off, ripping through everything from nights out ("parties at people's houses are such an effort... I can drink wine on the stairs at home"), through shopping (Argos, "where everyone's dressed for the gym but nobody goes"), to families ("I spoke to my mum today cause... I don't have Caller ID").
A cracking first half of sparkling one-liners, keen observational humour, and easy banter with the audience was topped off with five hilarious minutes based around stories by six and seven-year-olds about what they'll do when they marry.
After the interval it was time for Caulfield to dissect the audience's questionnaires. Just what made Cambridge angry and annoyed? Answers ranged from the random (hamsters) to the confusing ("the man with ferrets who shouts outside our window in the middle of the night"); from the smart aleck (questionnaires) to the predictable (dawdling tourists, bad driving); and from the all encompassing (life) to the understandable ("My boss, because he's a muppet"). But Caulfield's witty comments on all of them drew appreciative laughter and applause from the audience.
In fact Caulfield's gig could best be described as a non-stop laughter fest. Even the harshest critic couldn't help but be won over by her startlingly sharp routine. It's easy to see why she's in such demand as both a writer and a performer, and why her shows sell out so quickly wherever she goes. According to Caulfield, comedy shows are a great date for couples who've been together a while as "he gets to have a few beers and somebody else talks to her", but with quality stand-up like hers on offer, it's a great night out that nobody should miss.
Jan Gilbert October 2006