Jo Caulfield made a welcome return to Gap Comedy following a highly successful first visit in 2019. In the predominantly male world of stand up comedy it’s refreshing to see a female performer who is definitely at the top of her game. Her act is perfectly targeted for the Goring and Streatley demographic – an audience that includes, as she describes, a few ‘silver foxes’!

Currently on a national tour, she performed her latest show ‘Here Comes Trouble’ which was launched at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe to 5-star reviews. Coming on stage she immediately struck a rapport with the audience – commenting on how posh it was here and how attractive the properties are. Those who happened to be seated in the front row became targets – she’ll ask for names and question, “How did you meet your partner?” so she can develop a provocative routine based on the response. But with her warm and genial manner this meant that even the front row loved it!

As usual, her husband seems to provide a bottomless source of material. Her acute observations on the realities of long-standing relationships, male responses to medical examinations and the differences between the conversations that women have with friends, compared to what men talk about in the pub, make fertile ground for comedy and the scenarios she constructs to describe these situations clearly struck a familiar chord with the audience.

There’s a short section where she reads from her book ‘A Funny Thing About Death’, about her relationship with her recently deceased sister. From the brief excerpt it’s clear she’s experienced how grief can change our perspective on everyday situations, yet she still manages to find humour in the mundane. All the proceeds from the book are being donated to Macmillan Cancer Support.

Caulfield is relaxed and comfortable on stage, and her act refers to situations most are familiar with, and TV programmes like ‘A New Life in the Sun’ or ‘Four in a Bed’ that lend themselves to parody, so there’s nothing threatening or too edgy in her performance. This makes for an evening of light-hearted but intelligent humour perfectly pitched for the local audience. Judging by the cheers and applause as she closed her set that’s exactly what she delivered.

Mark & Karen Kibble