Dan Cook: Loud Bit, Quiet Bit, Loud Bit, Quiet Bit | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
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Dan Cook: Loud Bit, Quiet Bit, Loud Bit, Quiet Bit

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

'Can we talk about our parents’ phone contracts?’ asks Dan Cook near the outset of his show, infusing this potentially humdrum question with such murderous intensity that it sends a shiver through the audience.

Having welcomed us with one of those wire buzzer games to get the tension mounting, he quickly gets into some recent developments in his life: he’s moved to Penge; he hates his flat; he’s been on holiday to Portugal with his mum. It’s low-stakes stuff, but Cook’s delivery has always been key to his talent.

Someone at his London new material gig The Night of Nights once described him as performing comedy ‘like a man who’s been trapped in a cave for a decade’, which is the perfect encapsulation of his style. He stalks around the tight stage, eyes swivelling, smiling unnervingly, whispering and shrieking in an almost rhythmic pattern. He unfailingly produces a mad energy that can pep us up even after four bad shows in a row.

Moving on to talk about the highs and lows of the family WhatsApp group, the failings of the internet, and griping about his neighbour’s Nutribullet, it’s striking how his stage presence completely recontextualises this simple material.

He’s the kind of act who creates ambient rolling laughter almost no matter what he’s saying. In fact, it’s the contrast between material and delivery that makes it work so well. Flashier writing would seem too high status for this oppressed Everyman, reviewing a spatula on Amazon with the unhinged stare of a man licking the blood off a flick knife. The shiny black box of the Underbelly’s Buttercup room begins to feel appropriate as we’re invited deeper into his breakdown.

While probably not topical enough in his appeal to pull big-time awards attention, and performing less regularly than most jobbing comedians, he’s one of the most consistent – and consistently underrated – acts in the UK right now. And this show is probably his best work yet.

Dan Cook: Loud Bit, Quiet Bit, Loud Bit, Quiet Bit is on at Underbelly Bristo Square at 8.15pm

Review date: 14 Aug 2022
Reviewed by: Tim Harding
Reviewed at: Underbelly Bristo Square

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