From the start of his show, 'viral sensation' Munya Chawawa impresses. For such a relative newcomer to performing live stand-up comedy - which certainly comes with its own challenging skillset - he immediately presents as slicker than many comedians who have spent 5x longer on stage than he has.
That being said, performing better than most relative newcomers doesn't necessarily mean that you're ready for a stage as big as London's Kentish Town Forum, but we'll return to that in a moment. Chawawa's show - Boyz II Mun - is a personal one, we are promised, although there's not that much of the wild storytelling that made his Off Menu episode such a classic. Most of the best moments come when the action either switches to the upstage screen, or he interplays with it somehow. One such moment focuses on Harry Potter - the cultural behemoth remains an almost tiresomely regular topic in the stand-up comedy world, but Chawawa's take here can claim to be the one that's made me laugh most.
Generally he sells his material well, but things do seem to run out of steam a little in the second half, where the show's weaknesses become more apparent: additional cheesier punchlines are bolted on to segments, and there's low-hanging-fruit material focusing on vegans, vaping, and the Nigella Lawson innuendos that have already done solid business online.
It's worth highlighting the evening's extremely respectable support from Kyrah Gray and Joe McArdle. Chawawa's set, in turn, is also received warmly by the audience. At which point he may reasonably argue that he's done his job well. The most important objective has been achieved. For anybody who wasn't fully won over, his writing talents will, presumably, continue to develop. If he's not as good as most comedians that tread this stage, compared to most that are performing their debut show, you'd call him an exciting new act that you hope continues to develop his live work.
Geriatric Gen Z queen of #relatable comedy Ania Magliano, now. I Can't Believe You've Done This is her sophomore show - a big hit at the Edinburgh Fringe - and is mainly recommendable for the plain old-fashioned reason that the jokes come faster and better than last year's already perfectly recommendable offering. It's ostensibly about a bad haircut, although there's a narrative twist - which I'm keen not to spoil - that's both skilled and affecting. Elsewhere, expect highlights centred on Bible gossip, her anti-voicenote stance, the Met Police, and the time she spent volunteering, befriending an 80 year-old. Overall, an assured set from a comic who's great company on stage. Success is starting to feel like a forgone conclusion.
Olga Koch isn't going for the 'relatable' thing quite so much, as her shows tend to centre more on what maybe sets her apart from more traditional images of femininity: basically she's now turned 30, is doing MDMA again and having threesomes. As well as becoming a viral sensation herself (not in that way: she's contracted HPV). For those not familiar, Koch performances tend to see her proudly asserting her sexual confidence on stage. For this show, Prawn Cocktail, she's also disclosing her extreme fondness for admin, as she leaps at the opportunity to do three months of logistical preparation for what is essentially a second date in Tokyo. It's an excellent hour, though. We're firmly in Best Show Yet territory, in fact: Koch just keeps getting better.
Tell you what, it speaks volumes about the rude health of the UK comedy scene that thoroughly intriguing acts such as Lorna Rose Treen can debut and just... immediately find their audience. Having completed a massively successful Edinburgh run she's now gone on to pretty much sell out 13 shows here at Soho Theatre.
That's not to say that Treen is exactly tinkering around comedy's most avant-garde edges, but she's undeniably born of comedy's alternative wing. The show, Skin Pigeon, has invention to spare: she performs observational comedy from the perspective of a nine year-old Brownie, and it's cheering to see somebody gamely attempt an impression of an oscillating fan. Elsewhere, there's an excellent, surreal Sally Rooney parody. She also handles sustained tech issues very well (in such a busy show, it's a surprise her radio mic makes it through any of her performances unscathed). It's a wild, silly night out and you're left thrilled at where she may go next.