Ray Peacock - Out of Character
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2006
No costume, no props, less shouting.
Ray Peacock is an aggressive, tough-talking cloth-capped Northerner
that Ian Boldsworth has played on the circuit and in Edinburgh
for several years. For 2006, he's ditched the character, but
not the stage name, for a more straightforward, more honest hour
Adopting a public persona slightly different from our real
personalities is not, however, a trait confined to comedians,
and one thrust of Peacock's set is how he's always tried to be
cool to fit in. It started at school, but with the arrested development
that most comics seem to share, he's never quite grown out of
it. Even though when you're a short, fat bloke with a penchant
for Star Wars and ill-fitting jeans with one leg longer than
the other, 'cool' is an elusive concept.
He's done things others might consider cool: a threesome,
for instance. But it loses some of its glamour when you learn
it took place in squash court in Wigan. It's typical of Peacock's
endearingly self-effacing charm that he shares every embarrassing
detail with us.
This is not a boastful tale, nor a seedy one, but rather an
ordinary bloke recalling his shame and ineptitude with an almost
Tiggerish enthusiasm not that AA Milne wrote all that many
tales of ménages a trois in Hundred Acre Wood.
Other attempts to be cool are equally ill-fated, whether they
be the childhood attempt to acquire a sought-after VW badge at
the height of the Beastie Boys' fame, a run-in with a thuggish
heckler, or a confrontation with perceived burglar in his home
all end up in abject embarrassment for Peacock.
These are all simple, true stories, the joy of which lies
in the telling. Peacock has a winning combination of old-fashioned
Northern chirpiness, a willingness to be the butt of most f the
tales and unfailing ability to see the funny side. Even mundane
anecdotes of being a comic on the road, normally a barren area
for material, are enlived by his unabashed confessions of the
dialogue that goes on in his immature head. Although re-telling
another comic's story, even with the proper attribution, does
seem to be cheating.
As a show, it's flawed. The focus in this admittedly early
performance is all over the place as Peacock digresses into stories
and lines that have just occurred to him. He sets up no structure,
and comes to no real conclusion though some sort of trite
'just be yourself and don't chase popularity' seems to be the
But Peacock's good humour wins through all this, making for
an uncomplicatedly entertaining hour.