Taking pride of place in London’s vibrant Leicester Square, Bar Rumba’s comedy offering fits in perfectly with the needs of the many visitors who flock to the area for live entertainment. But how does the Comedy Carnival fare against such strong competition? I went down on a Friday night to see if the bar was all it was cracked up to be.
Descend the steps into the low, cavernous space and take a look at what must be one of the most intimate stand-up stages in London. If you get a good seat, you’ll be right at the comedian’s feet, so those looking to avoid being the brunt of the performer’s wit should definitely hang back. There are two bars, serving up great value cocktails, beers and wines so you’ll certainly never go thirsty.
Hosted by Aussie-boy MC Pete Jonas, the performance was spot on from start to finish. Warming everyone up, Zoe Lyons’ incredible pace and second perfect delivery had the crowd in stiches from the get go. By the time Pete Cain took to the stage with his dry and sarcastic take on the world, the audience were lapping it up. The final act of the night - and my favourite on the bill - was Marcel Lucont. Gliding on stage with exaggerated French mannerisms, Lucont was so utterly, hopelessly hilarious it literally hurt my sides; and I am not one to easily impress. If the quality of the acts each week is anywhere near this, I would become a regular at the drop of a hat.
As you might expect, the venue had its fair share of stag dos and hen parties who give the air a lively feel and allowed the comedians a good bit of back-and-forth on their behalf. But what was surprising was that the main audience consisted of couples, or friends up for a good time. After the show is finished, they clear all the chairs away and, in the words of the MC, fill the club up with plenty of party hungry young ladies…
Previously, Bar Rumba has hosted a number of comedy legends, including Russell Brand and Michael McIntyre; so the venue feels like it’s almost a rite of passage for many comedians. But how does it fare against the intense competition nearby? Ultimately, the Comedy Carnival doesn’t take itself seriously, doesn’t worry about all the glitz and glamour and focusses on what you are really there to enjoy; the comedy. The highest quality acts, guaranteed to bring the laughs, and have you wiping away tears and holding your sides. What more could you want?