REVIEW: Woofers Comedy Club, Lytham Festival

Wes Zaharuk
Wes Zaharuk

Even Phil Walker didn’t quite know what to say.

Lytham has probably never seen the likes of Wes Zaharuk before, the zany “Tommy Cooper on acid” who had just blown away most people’s pre-conceived ideas of stand-up comedy.

The gravel-voiced Canadian maverick had just stunned, exhilarated and excited an audience whose mouths were either agape or filled with uncontrolled laughter.

Hoovers down his sleeve, plungers on his bare nipples, bullying three audience members into brilliant stage antics that were so daft it was utterly bonkers just wondering what the heck was going to happen next.

Walker - Woofers entrepreneur and compere - had stood at the side of the stage scanning the audience to see the reaction. If he was worried, he needn’t have. A gamble, if that’s what you can call it, had paid off handsomely.

There was only one name on people’s lips as they shuffled into the cold, breezy evening, blown away by Zahurak’s whirlwind mania.

Zahurak was just one of four comedians to light up a dreary Monday night in Lytham as Woofers moved from its usual home to the Proms Arena.

First on was Steve Harris, a gutturall Salford lad awash with the joys of marriage - or not, it seemed.

The boredom of dull marriages was central to his set, striking a chord with many in the audience, with witty asides about one-dimensional Cockneys, being drunk in charge of a shopping trolley containing Johnny Vegas and picking fights with dwarves a fitting starter for the night’s set menu.

Then Simon Bligh raised the bar still further - his manic eyed death-stares, chiselled-jaw and elaborate hand movements giving the impression of a madman about to slay his crowd.

Terrifying his daughter (he loves her really) with Dalek-inspired bedtime stories were a highlight as well as upsetting his “exhausted” mates by turning up on their doorsteps at 7.30pm, pumping their kids with Red Bull and Haribo until they are buzzing off their tiny minds...and then disappearing to the pub leaving carnage behind.

Headlining was Steve Shanyaski, another observational Mancunian intent on verbally destroying the impression of the joys of marriage, recounting much-loved tales of hating her love of cuddles, candles, cushions and....breathing.

Following Zahurak and gone 11pm, Shanyaski was on a hiding to nothing but he pulled out the stops (comparing his new bride to the subtlety of a Transit van was inspired) before finishing with a Susan Boyle-themed three-chord beauty on his guitar.

A fabulous mix of top line comedians and all for a little more than a tenner.

You can’t bark at that.