Ray Peacock - Out of Character

Note: This review is from 2006

Review by Steve Bennett


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

of stand-up.

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.

Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Jan 2006
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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