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Jason Cook: The End (Part 1)

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

Jason Cook is building up quite a Fringe reputation for uplifting, feelgood shows, and 2010 is no exception.

That perpetual search for happiness came from a sucker-punch of tragedy, as he has comprehensively documented before, and initially it seems as if this show could go the same way, starting with the sombre announcement that in December Cook suffered a suspected heart attack. I don’t want to spoil the ending for you, but he survived.

Naturally enough, the shock sent him navel-gazing, wondering if he’d made enough of an impact on the world and vowing to be a better, lower-maintenance husband, just like his fictional nemesis, Nathan: the man he thinks his out-of-his-league wife should have married.

Such lofty ambitions are, however, underplayed, as the fast-talking Cook really just wants to share stories, many of which are about him acting quite the dickhead. Even if he professes to want to change his ways, he’s clearly quite proud of his ‘anything for a laugh’ philosophy – after all, it comes in handy in his line of work.

The tales come thick and fast; from his time in the merchant navy to a half-hearted attempted mugging in Australia. Some are personal anecdotes, some are more generally observational, such as hoping he wouldn’t have to sit next to a fat bloke on a plane, ot accurately describing a drunk trying to clear his head and promising: ‘I’ll be all right in a minute.’

It’s all easy-going, non-contentious stuff – the only person he’s likely to embarrass is himself as, at his wife Clare’s insistence, he shares the marital in-jokes she hates with the roomful of strangers. And even then, I suspect he’s not as ashamed as he makes out.

Such touches add substance to the monologue, although it does perfectly well without them. Cook is just such effervescent, easy-going company that the hour whips past with not a moment’s lull. He has an arsenal of witty tales, which he obviously loves telling. Good job, as his audience loves hearing them, too.

Review date: 12 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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