Dalton Trumbo's Reluctant Cabaret
Dan Renton Skinner
Dara O Briain
Dead Cat Bounce
Deborah Frances White
Delete The Banjax
Dominic Elliot Spencer
Donnchadh O Conaill
Dan Wright is best known as one-half of the double-act behind CBBC show Big Cook, Little Cook. With his performing partner from that show, Steve Marsh, he also occasionally appears on the circuit as Electric Forecast . They started performing stand-up in 2001, when they reached the final of the City Life competition.
Solo, he presented the 2007 BBC Three show Fuck Off I’m Ginger and was a finalist in the 2010 Laughing Horse new act of the year competition.
Brighton Comedy Festival – Dan Wright: Michael Jackson Touched Me
Every good comic needs a reason to struggle against the world… and for Dan Wright it his love of Michael Jackson, which he details as a damaging obsession, way beyond fanhood.
Its side-effects include some seriously bad dancing, demonstrated in this show both on grainy home video and in the flesh; ostracism by his schoolmates who were into far cooler bands; and a lifetime of unwinnable arguments. There is, he admits, something peculiar in his compulsion to persuade people that a man he’s never met is not a paedophile.
And yet those child abuse allegations loom very large in this hour – currently at the work-in-progress stage ahead of the Edinburgh Fringe. Now he has the microphone, Wright can rerun all those heated discussions he’s had defending his hero, without fear of contradiction – and dammit if he’s not going to remind his audience of the case for the defence in detail.
Yet really the unprovable allegations – though they clearly needed to be addressed – are a red herring in a show that’s ostensibly about the lengths people will go to when obsessed. Not just camping out for 18 hours so he could be in the front row of a Jackson gig, but humiliating himself at work and ruining putative relationships, all in the name of defending Jacko. Yet his devotion also made him feel a part of something bigger – an emotion surely everyone can identify with on some level: football being another example Wright brings up, even if it’s an awkward segue into material unrelated to the main thrust.
Wright is as passionate talking about his obsession as he is when practising it, even if he hasn’t got quite enough examples for the hour not to get a little repetitive, especially when coupled with digressions that add nothing.
Tellingly, Wright talks about his drive to make it as an actor – never mentioning ambitions to be a comedian -– and it was that which led him to taking the role as the more diminutive half of CBBC’s Big Cook, Little Cook. There are indeed actorly traits to his performance – although that does mean he holds the room – while some of the comic devices are formulaic: for example, whenever something clearly ridiculous is raised, he instantly imagines how that came to be, a cue to act out a scenario gratuitously re-stressing the original joke without adding anything.
But there’s no denying the zeal for his story, which makes it very watchable, while the self-awareness of how fixated he and his fellow Jackson devotees can be provides a decent batch of comedy moments. Not Bad for his first solo hour.
|Date of live review: Tuesday 8th May, '12|
Review by Steve Bennett
Monday 31st May, '10- The Dogstar
A breath of fresh air!
The Social Anxiety Network
Edinburgh Fringe 2012
Dan Wright: Michael Jackson Touched Me