on March 24, 2013
We were looking for something to do during our first Leicester evening, and as we don't often have opportunity to see comedy we thought a fairly cheap evening at Just the Tonic might fit the bill. At £9 for three live comedian acts, it was certainly cheap enough and as we weren't too sure what time we would arrive in Leicester that the place sold food offered a good stand by for us. The Leicester Just the Tonic is in the city centre and in the location formally home to the Jongleur's Comedy Club; I believe the firm went bust a few years ago now. There is a Walkabout chain pub next door. The Just the Tonic Club have regular comedy evenings where "stars of the future" perform and then extra events where fairly big names play. As it turned out, we discovered the venue was quite small (and the seating area even smaller), so I guess they can't justify paying for the real top names in comedy to perform here. The arrangements were a little strange when we got there; the long skinny shape of the venue didn't obviously favour a live venue and the chairs were laid in a rather haphazard way where people at the one side of the seating would struggle to see the live act anything but sideways on. We chose some seating on the end of a row about third back from the action, as it seemed we either had to sit close or not see anything at all. I did feel a little exposed to be picked on by the comedian but fortunately there were enough goons that were "up for it" without the funny man picking on the fat oldie cringing in front of him. Of the three comedians, the first comedian and the compare were by far the best. The second and third act descended into a long rambling monologue which lost 95% of the audience; one even recognised that their material wasn't up to it and said so. One rule of presenting is to never admit you are rubbish. While the acts weren't particularly stunning it was a good evening overall and even the poorest act still had the odd funny line. Those ordering food would be a little disappointed; my beloved was expecting a "cabaret style" set out with tables with which to eat. Instead there were about three tables at the back of the room which were already taken and food servers were aimlessly wandering around looking to reunite food order with purchaser; in some cases taking a good 10 minutes to do so. Not many people ordered food and it looked far too complicated. Food was of the fast variety; folded pizzas, burgers and the like, although at £5 a pop it wouldn't break the bank.The comedy club closes its doors at 8 to ensure latecomers don't disturb the performance. I was a little confused at what line some of the performers had set for audience participation v heckling. One in particular seemed happy to ridicule a member of the audience but 2 minutes later took exception when another audience member tried to join in. I also found the acts far too polite; saying something cuttingly funny and then apologising in the next breath. Since when did offending someone become such a heinous crime? You don't go to a comedy club and join in the banter to be respected.Summing UpWe did enjoy our evening overall, but I have to say that the venue was somewhat lacking with a poor layout both for watching comedy and for eating food. I think if I lived in Leicester I would probably only visit this venue if there were someone I really wanted to see live.
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