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Edinburgh Festival review – Jason Cook

Sunday, August 07 2011

Jason Cook works hard to please his devoted following with an undemanding, enjoyable hour

Jason Cook

It's only the second day of the Fringe and Jason Cook has virtually sold out his 175-odd seat venue in the Pleasance. You can tell from how they're primed for entertainment from the get-go that this is a room packed with Cook fans. It's what happens when you put together a run of critically acclaimed shows – you get a following, and it makes Cook's life easier, certainly.

He doesn't take his audience for granted though and he works hard for his laughs, in a show that satisfied his fans, even if the more casual may have found it uneven.

This show is based Cook and his mother's discussions about what makes you happy. it gives Cook just the platform he needs to ply his trade of chirpy, upbeat, homely stand-up. Of course, it still has the sort of introspection that you might expect of someone who lost his father not so long ago.

There's a strong thread running through about his lack of TV exposure, and you wonder why this is given his greatest weapon is his sharp wit and audience interaction. He has the common touch of someone like Graham Norton or pre-darkness Michael Barrymore, to the point that the audience are too willing to chip in and put Cook off his stride.

Some of this storytelling is enjoyable enough but without a zinging pay-off, such as his mother's conversation with Mohammed Al Fayed in Harrod's or a brusque taxi driver. Get him onto the subject of love though, and his chats with the audience, and he flies again.

There's an unexpected and slightly shocking ending which rounds off an enjoyable hour in style.

3.5 stars

Jason Cook: The Search For Happiness is on at 5.30pm at the Pleasance Dome.

Review written by Paul Fleckney


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