EG Birmingham Comedy Festival Breaking Talent Award 2018 winner announced
Brum’s Laura Monmoth scoops the prestigious comedy prize
Birmingham Comedy Festival and The Glee Club are pleased to announce Laura Monmoth as the recipient of the festival’s prestigious Breaking Talent Award 2018.
Laura wowed audiences at a packed Glee Club on Friday night (5 October 2018), where she was presented with her award by Free Radio Breakfast co-host (and stand-up comic) Lovdev Barpaga.
Birmingham-born comedian Laura utilised slide projections and animations for a tight set that saw her suggest comical names and attempt to ‘improve reality’, while pondering the purchase of a Princess Leia Star Wars costume.
Discussing her prize, Laura smiled: “The first thing that’s going to happen is that I’m putting that [win] on the posters!”
Her performance was adapted from a longer show, LGBTQZX, which Laura has been developing and refining over a period of time.
“I’ve been performing for five years, but really concentrated on my show for the last 18 months,” she says of the normally hour long performance which combines retro gaming with gender issues.
Previously aired at such festivals as the Edinburgh Fringe and Leicester, LGBTQX recently won Best Show at the Morecambe Comedy Festival.
“It’s weird for me to just do 10 minutes from that, you don’t expect bits to work on their own, but everyone was on board with it.”
Believing her comedy to non-mainstream – “Everything I do is really niche,” she states – Laura confessed to being nervous about editing and adapting material for the high-pressure award show, and how it would be received by a crowd who, by and large, had never seen her before.
“I was worried about how people would take it for some time, how people would react … but it was an awesome audience,” she enthused, adding: “There was even someone from Colorado [USA] who said they came over especially for the festival! There’s been a global aspect!”
Despite her use of technology, Laura’s early comedic inspirations came from elsewhere.
“Growing up I was heavily influenced by the storytelling of Jasper Carrott and the energy of Rowan Atkinson,” she says, adding, “weirdly, neither of them really influence the direction I took. I enjoy the creative aspects of comedy, which is why I involve animations, music and surrealism in my act.”
Laura faced stiff competition from four other emerging West Midlands acts: Stoke’s Phil Carr, joking about the challenges of getting into shape and the temptation of pies; fast-talking Robocop-loving film buff Sham Zaman, from Alum Rock, Birmingham; Stratford-upon-Avon animation editor Adam Beardsmore, who recalled escapades with his brother and leapt into the audience; and Hall Green, Birmingham, born and raised double-act Good Kids (aka Kieran Ahern and Tom Dowling), who sang their own questionable Christmas charity song.
In addition to awarding Laura the main prize, the judging panel were keen to commend Good Kids for their infectious energy and repartee.
A spokesperson for the festival said: “This was certainly our most stylistically varied line-up yet, which made judging extremely difficult, but Laura’s set was tight, confident, and drew the entire audience in, and we look forward to seeing her continue to develop over the coming year.”
A collaboration between the award-winning festival and The Glee Club, and sponsored by Edinburgh Gin, the EG Birmingham Comedy Festival Breaking Talent Award was set up in 2014 to recognise and support emerging comedic talent from the city and wider West Midlands.
2018’s festival kicked off on Friday 5 October and continues at various venues across the city until Sunday 14 October. Highlights include appearances from Ab Fab legend Joanna Lumley, Rich Hall, Jimeoin, James Acaster, and two Free Half-Dayers featuring 16 free comedy shows spread over successive Sunday afternoons at two city centre venues (Cherry Reds, The Victoria, 7 and 14 October).
For full listings and more information, see: bhamcomfest.co.uk
About the EG Birmingham Comedy Festival Breaking Talent Award:
The competing acts were selected by a team of established comedy professionals including James Cook (comedy course tutor, comedian, broadcaster), Adam Jaremko (The Glee booker), Maureen Younger (MY Comedy, comedian), and Josh Pugh (winner of the festival’s Breaking Talent Award in 2015 who went on to win the English Comedian Of The Year title in 2016).
The judging panel consisted of The Glee Club’s Alistair Cunningham, Free Radio’s Lovdev Barpaga (himself an award-winning stand-up), BBCWM presenter Richard Wilford, and Birmingham Comedy Festival’s Dave Freak.
The event was sponsored by Edinburgh Gin, who hosted the special After Show Party.
The night was MC’d by James Cook and also included a closing set from fast-rising Liverpudlian comic Simon Wozniak.
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