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Alun Cochrane: My Favourite Words In My Best Stori

Note: This review is from 2004

Review by Steve Bennett

Stylish, well-constructed and using some great material, even if some of it is just padding.

And that's just the retro chair that Alun Cochrane fears will upstage him in this, his first Fringe show ­ although it would fair to apply that same description to his quietly entertaining act, too.

The ambitions of this show are relatively modest, as are the anecdotes it contains: apparently inconsequential episodes from his life that cheered him up for a moment or two, rather than the epic tales that might form the basis of other Fringe shows.

His only gimmick is a hotel reception bell that he tings, Call-My-Bluff-style, whenever he mentions one of his favourite words, like defenestration, couscous or ninja.

It's a suitably simple pleasure and one which the audience instantly warms to, especially when it comes to suggesting their own lexicographical favourites. Ding!

But then Cochrane has got the knack of subtly manipulating people into feeling good through no other trickery than being great company. Anyone who elicits a cheer simply for sitting on that chair of which he is so proud certainly has that intangible knack of getting an audience in the palm of his hand.

There's no big theme, nor any obvious texture (well, save for an inept breakdancing interlude) to lend the show a sense of occasion. It's good simply because of the strength of Cochrane's gently charming persona.

As such, most the show is delightfully whimsical, although Cochrane admits that he also succumbs to the demon on his shoulder urging him to say or do the most inappropriate things at times, showing chinks of mischief in the easy-going persona.

The audience may have felt been short-changed when the show seemed to end considerably early. But no, a full hour had passed ­ such is the effortless way he can hold the attention.

Review date: 1 Jan 2004
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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