Laura Monmoth has been named as the recipient of the Birmingham Comedy Festival's Breaking Talent Award 2018.
Monmoth triumphed at a packed show in Birmingham's Glee Club on Friday night (5th October 2018), overseen by a panel of judges.
A Birmingham-born comedian, she 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 winning, Laura said: "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, LGBTQX, which she has been developing and refining over a period of time.
She explains: "I've been performing for five years, but really concentrated on my show for the last 18 months. 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 be non-mainstream, 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."
She was presented with her award by Free Radio Breakfast co-host and stand-up comic Lovdev Barpaga.
Laura faced stiff competition from four other emerging West Midlands acts who had been nominated in the final by an industry panel. Also appearing were: Stoke's Phil Carr, who joked 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 during the final; and the Hall Green, Birmingham, born-and-raised double-act Good Kids (Kieran Ahern and Tom Dowling), who sang their own questionable Christmas charity song.
In addition to awarding Laura with the main prize, the judging panel were keen to commend Good Kids for their infectious energy and repartee.
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 established in 2014 to recognise and support emerging comedic talent from the city and wider West Midlands. The previous winners are Kai Samra (2017), Harv Hawkins (2016), Josh Pugh (2015) and Andrew McBurney (2014).
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."
The Birmingham Comedy Festival 2018 runs until Sunday 14th October 2018. Acts include James Acaster, Jimeoin and Robin Ince. Joanna Lumley headlines the festival with her solo show It's All About Me!. bhamcomfest.co.uk
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