Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

WHAT’S ON: Get sneak peeks as comics try out acts

Craig Hill will be offering a sneaky peek of his new material.
Craig Hill will be offering a sneaky peek of his new material.

“Our Sneak Peeks shows are different to normal comedy gigs, and we’re very careful to advertise them that way,” says Edinburgh-based comedy promoter Marlene Zwickler.

“They’re more like an actor’s workshop. When you arrive, it doesn’t feel like a normal comedy gig,” she adds.

“The artists are generally rolling out brand-new material, as opposed to work they’ve tried a few times in other places.

“It’s a real safe space for them to come and try out new stuff, literally with their notes on stage.”

Practice makes perfect

In other words, it’s a kind of practice which the audience are allowed to sit in on for a small ticket price; enough to give everyone involved petrol money, says Zwickler. Yet more than that, they’re an integral part of the show – the comedians are here to find out what an audience thinks of their work, as much as their colleagues.

Besides, Zwickler promotes a great roster of comedians. The intended line-up for this weekend, which sees some of them doing work on their material ahead of shows at next month’s Edinburgh Fringe, has veterans Craig Hill, Kai Humphries and Gareth Waugh, alongside relative newcomers Connor Burns and Liam Farrelly.

Kai Humphries.

“It’s usually slicker than you’d expect it to be, with the occasional crash and burn, but it still works out to be fun,” says Zwickler. “They’re always really, really funny, because these are funny people.

“The artists all sit in the room at the same time, and they help each other with script editing,” she adds.

Liam Farrelly will be part of the line up.

“It’s like a workshop. If you want a comedy show to take a date to, well, unless they’re really into comedy, this probably isn’t for you.

“But if you’re into the nuts and bolts of the art form and you like a laugh which is a bit more casual, it’s really interesting. It’s funny, but it’s also a real insight into how comedians develop stuff.

“There’s no compere, it’s not like that at all. Usually the most senior person introduces it at the start, just to make sure the audience knows what they’re going to get, then they get straight into it.

“There are bottles of water onstage, towels – we don’t quite have a bidet there, but you know…”

Always fresh material

Zwickler has been running these shows since the mid-2000s, in small rooms in towns and cities including St Andrews, Stirling and Kilmarnock.

Her regular audiences there are used to the format, and she hopes Perth adapts quickly to Sneak Peeks’ first visit there.

“Our audiences know it’s all new,” she says.

“Then when Daniel Sloss (another Sneak Peeks regular, who won’t be appearing this time) rolls out his brand new stuff, they know they’re going to see it on tour or on TV at some point later on.

Connor Burns is a relative newcomer to the comedy circuit.

“We go to great lengths to make sure the audience doesn’t come suited and booted for a Saturday night out.

“The artists’ only problem is just to turn up with enough stuff to try out, but they’re not allowed to use old material – maybe once or twice when somebody’s run out of stuff, because the audience wants to be entertained. It’s low-key, but it’s really good value.”

MZA Sneak Peeks! is at Perth Theatre on
Friday July 8 and Saturday July 9.

Already a subscriber? Sign in