Paul 'Silky' White24.03.2017 : Pontio, Bangor
The Pontio, Bangor has a big stage, and for one man alone it takes a lot of energy and talent to fill it.
Paul 'Silky' White is well known to North Wales comedy audiences - but mainly as a promoter (notably in Mold, Llandudno and Llangollen) and compère; the latter a role that requires some understatement, as you are in front of the microphone to provide a frame for the main bill performers, not upstage them.
His own solo shows locally have been rarer - perhaps to balance this deficiency each year he appears at the Edinburgh Fringe, allowing himself a time to demonstrate his own definite merit.
Maybe it indicates a shift in career priorities prompted by the success of his Fringe shows, but in March Silky unexpectedly appeared in his chosen North Wales roving ground to present a focused set at the Pontio supporting Rory Bremner - closing the first section of Bremner's accomplished show with half an hour of up tempo wit; a crafted mix of greatest, stage-tested, hits and newer material.
The impression is immediate that he has the talent and energy needed to hold an audience; he deploys them effortlessly to draw those watching into seeing things from his unique, off kilter perspective.
What you get once he is in full flow (which is moments not minutes - the compères' union wouldn't have it otherwise) is uplifting, scatological flights of fancy and imagination - old fashioned but intelligent, playful fun; most ably demonstrated at the Pontio when he joyfully extracted five minutes of darkening mirth out of describing the alternate functions he has found for his acoustic guitar stand - which are much less anatomical, more tangential and manic than you might immediately think; that's his mind not yours. He then stepped up to tackle the issue of language (as a rapidly advancing Welsh learner, perhaps one of only a few currently in his home town of Leeds) adroitly and with inclusive audience hilarity.
You also get music - not least as the set ended with a frenetic, swirling song written from a dog's eye view of the world, complete with a final punchline that had all the beauty of a well taken free kick - for long moments you knew it was coming, just as you suddenly know the ball is going in the top corner as it curves past the wall, but the anticipation was something to savour almost as much as the actual impact point.
A superb half hour definitively proving that Silky is funnier and smarter than the average clown, and is rightfully at home on a big stage all of his own.