Jordan Brookes: I've Got Nothing | Edinburgh Fringe review by Steve Bennett
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Jordan Brookes: I've Got Nothing

Edinburgh Fringe review by Steve Bennett


I’ve Got Nothing is stand-up’s answer to Waiting For Godot, with Jordan Brookes restlessly killing time with no apparent purpose, just counting down the clock until his hour’s up. 

References to joking while the world burns may suggest some metaphor about the futility of entertainment as we all await our inevitable end. But if this is merely fatalistic distraction, it’s a damn funny way to go.

Brookes spends the show teasing and misdirecting the audience, pranking them with misleading questions, unanswerable moral dilemmas and false endings. From the apparent chaos , running jokes emerge, such a wonderfully disturbing hypothetical Oedipal situation. Some of the most ridiculous scenarios are the most earnestly done, like imagining a man-sized Freddo, while any potentially sincere moment is treated flippantly.

This restless 33-year-old makes full use of his gangly physicality too. Unbounded by the stage, he occupies every corner of the room at some point, running to the exit, clambering over the back rows and invading the tech box.

The show starts with him seducing the microphone as if it were a woman he picked up at a disco. And every 14 minutes he does a crazy dance, sillier than any of John Cleese’s silly walks, to win back our attention. Apparently, that’s the average concentration span, but with this compelling, unpredictable trickster on stage, no one’s going to be drifting off.

When things happen in the room, he runs with them, adding to the false feeling that he’s a man with no plan and that any distraction that gives him something to do is to be seized with both hands. The tone can be confrontational but never aggressive. He believes he’s getting no respect from the crowd and pounces on any evidence.

Ideas come and go and then come back again. Some apparently insignificant moments seed a later routine. Others are just as trivial as they seem.

There’s nothing quite like this on the Fringe, with Brookes managing to be artistically ambitious without being self-indulgent. What better way to kill time?

Review date: 11 Aug 2019
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Pleasance Courtyard

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