Review: Danny Pensive’s Map Of Britain – The Caves, Edinburgh
On stage is a map of Britain and a TV, which John Cooper (a.k.a Danny Pensive) uses to play a clip show of his YouTube videos. Basically, Pensive visits different places in Britain then records a small video about them. This year’s show, Danny Pensive’s Map Of Britain, is the natural extension of that, and it almost works.
It takes Cooper a full fifteen minutes to get into his show proper – after an inventive sing-a-long about a goldfish – but once he gets down to his themed material it’s a fun set delivered by one of the more original character acts on the circuit.
An amiable compere, he gets the most laughs bouncing off the audience; and allowing them an influence on the gig is a simple but effective way of broadening their experience of the show. It also means every viewing of Danny Pensive’s Map Of Britain should feel slightly different, as the ordering of his prepared material changes with the crowd.
As far as the material itself goes, Cooper writes with an innocent turn of phrase and speaks with an almost lyrical lilt. There’s some nice gags about hypnotism and Doctor Who in his set, and a dead-on observation about Durham’s desire to be nearer Oxfordshire. It’s an excellent bit of social commentary, and one which really resonates with a Northern crowd.
And that’s probably where the show peaks, to be honest. Despite Cooper’s best efforts I don’t think the crowd really bought into his act and the atmosphere in the room was lacklustre, too. It doesn’t help, of course, that three dicks in the crowd kept trying to leave because they don’t understand the concept of character comedy. Either that or they hated geography in school.
Date of live review: Friday 12th August 2011.