Jack Rooke: Love Letters (3 stars)

Jack Rooke: Love Letters

credit: Lewis Simpson

Comedy storyteller swaps death for dating

Jack Rooke's last two Fringe outings – Good Grief and Happy Hour – have revolved around death, suicide and grieving. Fed up of being sad all the time, the performer's 2019 show ditches the perennial blues for an hour that's all about gay dating. And especially, he says, about cock. Or is it? At his best, Rooke's comedy exposes a deep understanding of the bonds of friendship and love.

As well as his Grindr adventures, Love Letters takes on his evolving relationship with his older brothers, his first forays into gay bars (including Edinburgh's very own GHQ) and being a 'chubby gay'. There's a particularly honest admission where Rooke talks about shunning a teenage friend who came out at school, and it's in these raw moments that the storytelling really shines.

Seemingly, some cue changes mean this show feels under-rehearsed; Rooke's regular script-checking results in his engaging story losing pace occasionally and some of the ad-libbing is funnier than the scripted humour. But it's still a lovely hour, its overarching theme of love accentuated by the beautiful live harp accompaniment from orchestral musician Alexander Thomas and the minimal but very pretty set design.

Assembly George Square Gardens, until 24 Aug, 7.30pm, £12–£14 (£11–£13).

Jack Rooke: Love Letters

  • 3 stars

Berk's Nest and Daisy Dockrill in association with Curtis Brown Dear reader, you may know me from such tragedies as Dead Dad (Radio 4's Good Grief) and Dead Friend (BBC Three's Happy Man) but this year I'm dead chuffed to perform comedy about shagging blokes! No one dies and it's set to a beautiful live harp. Straight…

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