Jordan Brookes: Adventures In Limited Space | Edinburgh Fringe review by Steve Bennett
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Jordan Brookes: Adventures In Limited Space

Note: This review is from 2015

Edinburgh Fringe review by Steve Bennett

Had it not been for his nomination for a Comedians’ Choice award, Jordan Brookes might have flown under the radar completely this Fringe. And that would have been a shame, as Adventures In Limited Space deserves recognition for doing something a little different with the art form.

The 29-year-old describes himself as an actor, not a stand-up – which is usually a bright neon warning sign flashing ‘insincere’. But Brookes uses it as an excuse not to play entirely by the established rules – right from starting off in a muted style, chatting casually to the tech, until beginning in character as the janitor ‘just passing through’.

It’s one of the elements of clowning he deploys, most visible when he demands encore after encore in faux-coy silence, or when he demonstrates his Liverpudlian roots by offering a Scouse translation that’s just a repetitive sequence of strained, guttural nonsense – brilliantly funny by the dedication to his nonsense. A contrived physicality often enters the equation, too, veins straining in his neck as he puts his all into one desperate skit.

His analogies between a relationship and his thespian job is a satisfyingly witty one, especially when he finds his role of boyfriend ‘recast’, cementing the image he projects of a loser putting a brave face on things.

Similarly, he feigns that stand-up was never his dream anyway, and that he always wanted to work part-time on a minimum wage in a Cardiff shoe shop, an ambition realised when he was approached by a shadowy figure on the streets of Paris making an offer he couldn’t refuse. That there’s no business like shoe business is a lovely fantasy, played out exquisitely – a thin veneer of defiance against a life that’s not working out as planned.

There are a few moments of ‘deliberately engineered’ awkwardness that don’t quite come off, his pointing out what he’s doing giving him a get-out, but the silences still linger a little too uncomfortably, and not everything he do comes off.

Yet with performance skills to spare and an innovative approach running through this assured debut like lettering in seaside rock, the limits of the spaces Brookes plays in future are likely to get bigger and bigger.

Review date: 1 Sep 2015
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Just the Tonic at The Grassmarket Centre

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