Liverpool Comedy Festival review: Eric's Tales of the Sea
A submariner with a few exciting stories up his sleeve added a different dimension to the fest.
Our host for the night, Eric (just Eric), is a submariner, so he's got a USP from the off, and it attracted a very varied audience of comedy fans and those interested in life on (or under) the ocean wave to the Unity Theatre last night.
His show wasn't a matter of full-on hilarity, but well-told tales full of suspense - and warmth. This isn't as odd as it sounds, because as much as being a show about the alien excitement of life underwater, it was about the folly of Eric's youth in those exceptional and strange circumstances, and in particular an inspirational friendship that forms the emotional core of the show.
And it's fascinating. Eric has a great force of personality and his way of telling a tale had the audience in turns laughing, holding their breath in anticipation, or even wiping away a little tear. And it's certainly educational to the layperson as well - more like a very entertaining lecture than a traditional stand up gig, it was something very different among the comedy festival line up, but something special all its own nonetheless.
Eric joined the Navy at 16 and his show is full of pride and respect for the men and women of the Forces, people he likes to engage with in the audience (and is keen to go for a beer with after the performance). He recalls bawdy initiation stories, tricks played on him by his colleagues as a vital part of ingratiating into a team on which all their lives depend. It's a different world, with stories about emergency escapes and danger in the high seas that are as frightening as they are exciting. He builds up his anecdotes with skill - real seamen's yarns, keeping an ancient art alive in a very modern environment.