Review

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 June, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 June, 2000, 12:00am

The latest instalment of the excellent Punchline comedy club served up a feast of belly laughs while taking the audience on a wild ride from one pole of the stand-up spectrum to the other.


Simon Evans and Bruno Lucia - stars of the London comedy circuit - are like chalk and cheese. Evans adopts an urbane, world-weary persona - 'you may struggle to place my accent: it's educated' - squinting into the spotlight with impossibly small eyes, one hand thrust into a well-tailored suit pocket, delivering hilarious one-liners completely deadpan.


Lucia, meantime, is a physical comedian from the Jim Carrey school of gurning. Hailing from Melbourne, he describes himself as half-Italian, half-Australian. 'Half of me wants to spend my time eating good food and making love to beautiful women, the other half wants to get p****d and watch the footy,' he yelps, before launching into a side-splitting rendition of Roberto Begnini's Oscar acceptance speech.


Evans takes to the stage first, and sticks to safe ground, sending up his London haunts. He spent much of his life in Peckham, best known as the setting for Only Fools And Horses. Life there wasn't all 'lovely jubbly', he cautions: 'Television does have a tendency to glamorise.' He keeps you on the edge of your seat with disconcerting pauses between direct hits. Just as you are starting to think he's strayed into the comedic dead zone and lost his thread, he bounces back with a withering put-down or a rapier pay-off.


A temperamental microphone almost threatens to derail things but he manages to improvise a riff on floppy cords and male appendages until the thing starts working again.


Lucia has a manic, rubber-faced energy and is a purveyor of real laugh-until-your-face-aches stuff. Sporting a shaved head, he apologises to any neo-nazis who might be offended by his appearance - 'hey guys, love your work!'.


He's at his best lampooning chardonnay-sipping snobs in first class, Americans ('I love LA - you've got to go to Disneyland to get a dose of reality') and the jovial head-wobble and 'orright darlin'?' of Cockneys.


Lucia is also an accomplished guitarist and finishes his act with his axe, taking the mickey mercilessly out of blues, jazz, country and heavy metal mannerisms. If this doesn't make you laugh, you're already dead.


Tonight, 9pm, at The Viceroy. Tel: 2827 7777