Will Smith: How To Be Cool

Note: This review is from 2006

Review by Steve Bennett

Will Smith has always tussled with the notion of cool. Growing up in Jersey with a liking for Dire Straits and a tidiness that verges on the obsessive compulsive, it's something he always struggled with but, at the same time, he has remained vehemently proud of his dodgy tastes and peculiar ways. So it's something of a surprise that it took him this long to produce a show devoted to justifying his own lack of je ne sais quoi and have a go at those that consider themselves to be cool.

Despite the title, this is more of dissection of cool than a lesson in one. You're not going to go in with corduroy jacket and M&S jeans and come out with ideas of skinny fit drainpipes and natty scarves (for that you probably need Russell Brand).

Smith begins by warning that although you may consider yourself to be cool, in actual fact you may well not be ­ as he discovered. How was he to know you don't take grapes to the cinema?

He goes on to question why, as an individual who's always ploughed his own furrow, he isn't considered cool? Why is it only awarded to some expressions of individuality and not others? What makes the likes of Jarvis Cocker cool when Fred Dibnah never was? In addition he questions our dubious choice of idols. Why are the rebellious likes of Pete Docherty and Dennis the Menace considered cool and the clearly metrosexual, sensitive boy Walter Softy isn't?

As ever Smith persistently and amusingly gets hot under his properly buttoned collar and breaks out into a rant at a moment's notice. There's plenty of his trademark obsessing to be found here namely in Jeff Wayne's needless scaremongering regarding the Mars threat in his musical rendition of War of The Worlds and Smith's extensive but probably quite useful, diagram on how to talk to a lady on a date. And of course it wouldn't be a Will Smith Edinburgh show if there wasn't some incidental dodgy dancing to middle of the road soft rock tunes.

All in all this is yet another great show from a man fast becoming a festival stalwart and safe bet for an all round four-star fringe production.

Marissa Burgess

Review date: 1 Jan 2006
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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