Review: Jason Cook: The End (Part 1) – The Stand, Edinburgh.
Basing your Edinburgh show – albeit loosely – on the day you thought you were going to die doesn’t sound like a situation that contains much comedy potential; but with an effortlessly funny storyteller like Jason Cook and a batch of material that is childish yet wholeheartedly earnest, ‘The End (Part 1)’ is without doubt one of the most heart-warming shows of this year’s Fringe. At the top of the show Cook explained his inspiration for ‘The End (Part 1)’ – in December last year the comic suffered a suspected heart attack in his home – and then what he hopes to achieve in part two of his life.
Firstly, Cook wants to appreciate the things that happen around him; also to be a better husband to his wife Clare; and to make an impact on the world – with the latter of these ambitions at the heart of this year’s show.
Performed in a stream of consciousness style beginning the moment Cook thought he was having the heart attack, the Newcastle comic’s set covered a wide range of themes – loss, regret, leaving a legacy, seizing the moment and what happiness truly means are things we all think about, and they’re all here in ‘The End (Part 1)’ – and with Cook’s touching Hairspray routine the comic is at his best as he tied all these themes together in one brilliantly told story of how he humiliated himself in exchange for the happiness of a stranger.
There are, however, a few routines in Cook’s show that are perhaps thematically redundant, most notably his rant on Gok Wan, but even that is an entertaining, and perhaps necessary, distraction from the thought-provoking material that dominates his set. And with an impressive range of call-backs and interlinking material, ‘The End (Part 1)’ is not only an effortlessly funny performance by Jason Cook but it’s a very well structured, well written monologue – even his PowerPoint was used effectively, which is somewhat of a rarity at an Edinburgh show.
By his own admission, Cook’s main aim in creating ‘The End’ was to ‘make an impact on the world’, and after this fine performance in Edinburgh, he is well on his way to achieving that goal in part two of his life. Long live Jason Cook.
Date of live review: Thursday 26th August.
* * * *