Finding comfort and joy in the darkest of places
This article is from 2008.
It’s his birthday today, so you’d expect Jason Cook to be in party mode. His sister has even showed up for Joy in this tiny and packed Stand back-room. But while we pile out onto the street having hugged strangers and armed with paraphernalia that would suggest we’ve all had a swinging old time, our eyes are simultaneously stinging with fresh tears. There really can’t be another show like this on the Fringe and amid a festival of largely uninspired stand-up, ropy sketch shows and flat character creations, Jason Cook sticks out like a throbbing Geordie thumb.
This hour is not so much a rollercoaster of emotion as a tsunami of feeling as wave after wave of heart-massaging material comes at you from this wild-eyed livewire. He certainly has a story to tell, mainly of growing up in a family for whom bad luck is worn almost like a badge. They even have a rotating top five ‘Cook family disasters’ that is refreshed on an annual basis. But an event that occurred at the start of the year has shot straight into the number one slot and forms the centrepiece for his show. If you don’t know the tale, it would be wholly wrong to spill it here as the unravelling pain and accompanying humour that Cook somehow springs from this well of sorrow needs to be fully experienced.
It will be rare at this Fringe or anywhere else to find an hour-long show that plays with the emotions on so many levels. Not one for the cynically challenged, this is a joy to behold and a pleasure to have witnessed.
The Stand II, 558 7272, until 24 Aug, 5.20pm, £8 (£7).