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Venue:The Newsroom, 5 - 11 Leith Street Edinburgh EH1 3AT
Phone: 0131 557 5830
Links: Click Here for venue details, Click here for map
Ticket Prices: Free  
Room: The Downstairs Bar
AUG 14-20, 22-27 at 18:15 (60 min)
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Join Bob Blackman's Tray for a series of jokes, local characters and paper plates. "Unfashionably dressed" - The Skinny. "The funniest men in Newcastle-under-Lyme" - Stoke Sentinel.

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News and Reviews for this Show

August 20, 2016  Broadway Baby
Review for Bob Blackman's Tray
“The Tribute Act To The Act With No Act”has solved a problem that dogs all but the most innovate of performers: why bother making the effort to come up with something new when in all likelihood it’s been done better already? The Bob ‘The Tray’ Blackman Appreciation Society thankfully returns to Edinburgh for another year, bringing with it its unique brand of light entertainment-infused, highbrow silliness.

Deceptively well-written, with a stand-up performing a character performing stand-up, yet never over-eggs the premise
Stoke-on-Trent Variety Clubis the venue for the gig, which we’re told in advance will last approximately 48 minutes and 37 seconds. The show is loosely built around two standup sets, one from Johnny ‘Showaddywaddy’ Sorrow, the second from up-and-comer Trevor Never (both played by the same man). The set from Sorrow is part variety club compere, part homage, part breakdown. The ghosts of ITV’s New Faces and being barred from performing at the Dudley Social Club haunt Sorrow (“I’ve been shunned Missus! Have you ever been shunned? You look like you have.”) It’s deceptively well-written, with a stand-up performing a character performing stand-up, yet never over-eggs the premise, delivering more good old fashioned gags per minute than you’re likely to see anywhere north of Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Trevor Never is considered on the Stoke comedy scene as one of those new, edgy comics, bringing with him a Lenny Bruce-style rage at the bureaucracy that means he is denied any local access to indoor bowling facilities during winter months. Like Johnny Sorrow’s routine, this can be taken at face value or as a parody of Never’s furious parochialism – from either vantage point this section, like all parts of the show, works equally well.

Palate cleansers administered by the balaclava-clad Richard Drake are slotted in between the larger routines. These come in the form of “The Man With No Act” (and his aforementioned tribute) and the man whose act consists only of punchlines (“I’ve never even met Carol Vorderman”), among others. Handily, he’s brought his own canned laughter, just so we’re sure of the right places to laugh. In Fringes past a technician looked after the sound effects – it’s a pity that’s no longer the case as seeing Drake remotely trigger the response to his punchlines a split second before we hear the programmed ‘Oi Oi!’ takes away from it slightly. But only very slightly.
This is one of the most criminally under-attended and under-appreciated shows of this (or any other) year’s Fringe. As Johnny ‘Showaddywaddy’ Sorrow himself says: “You can take your Avalons, you can take your Gilded Balloons, you can take your Copsticks and your bloody Malcolm McIntyres! This is what it’s all about, this is craft!” Amen to that. Click Here

August 16, 2016  Festival Magazine
Review for Bob Blackman's Tray
You thought you were in Edinburgh at the Fringe? Nope, you're at Stoke On Trent Variety Club to witness a tribute to Bob "The Tray" Blackman, the Penge comedian who used to sing 'Mule Train' whilst banging a tray on his head (he really did, check it out on YouTube).

Johnny Sorrow and Richard Drake have been peddling their unobtrusively oddball oeuvre at the Fringe for the past few years, often slipping under the radar as they're not fussed about doing much in the way of promotion – besides, rumour has it that they'd do the show even if the room was empty. But beneath the oddities on stage lies an incredibly sharp and cunningly written piece.

Sorrow's nostalgic routine laments the lost days of the old school comedian, name dropping the likes of Roger de Courcey. It's a beautiful combination of musical hall variety and minor breakdown. And how often do you see an impersonation of Bernie Clifton atop his ostrich these days? Sorrow's big dream? To get back on the bill at Dudley Social Club.

He's joined by Richard Drake all the way from Newcastle under Lyme, the continually balaclava'd introvert with a fine line in one liners.

In between the pair's routines are simple small gags, such as the man who hasn't bothered to write any material, and to top off proceedings there are a couple of old fashioned sing-a-longs. As for the finale, you can probably guess what that involves, trays at the ready. Click Here

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