Lloyd Marken is a freelance writer with a passion for the arts who has been published with Scenestr, Heavy, Buzz, X-Press, FilmInk and Weekend Notes. Visit my blog at https://backtothedrawingboardproductions.com/
After Hours, it turns out, may be the best kept secret of the Brisbane Comedy Festival 2019. Running every Friday and Saturday night at 10:15pm at the Brisbane Powerhouse, it is partly sold on the promise of mystery and danger. Which acts will perform is not revealed, albeit stand-up Dusty Rich is known to be compering and the setting late at night after the festival has wrapped, suggests we will see some acts letting their hair down and trying out new material that may be edgy.
While this may prove true some nights, it has to be said on the night we attended everything felt well-polished and nothing too offensive.
Instead the secret of After Hours maybe that it is the best value for money show at the fest with numerous shows doing their best numbers and stand-ups performing their strongest sets.
There is a communal feel to it, other performers have knocked off and are in the audience to cheer on their friends and be entertained themselves.
With all attending the dark underground Turbine Studio, as everybody else is heading home, one definitely feels they're part of something special. This is reinforced afterwards as you head out through a deserted Powerhouse into the still night air, the iconic blue led lights of the Festival already turned off.
If you're thinking some of the smaller names of the festival will make up the roster then think again. On the night we attended, Lady Sings It Better did a cover of Usher's Dive while Michelle Brasier and Laura Frew did an energetic number from their show Double Denim.
Dusty Rich proved a perfect compere, lifting the energy of the crowd and drumming up support for performers coming on throughout. The South African stand-up was joined in his field by Gillian English, Mel Buttle, Luke Heggie, Aaron Chen and Rhys Nicholson.
One of the strongest on the night was definitely Aaron Chen who came out on stage with so much swagger he didn't even have to say much that was funny to get a laugh. If you haven't heard of Aaron Chen yet, you will soon.
Rhys Nicholson though came out with a tight set that just built and built until he absolutely had the crowd in hysterics. The phrase gets over-used but in this case, Nicholson absolutely killed! Given the late-night crowd and the talent he shared the stage with it was truly an achievement.