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Reviews Feature: Shows by Chris

By | Published on Wednesday 13 August 2014

ThreeWeeks Co-Editor Chris Cooke reviews comedy shows featuring, well, a Chris.

Chris Cooke

How big a narcissist do you need to be to only review shows by comedians with the same name as you? This big apparently. Though I only set out on this endeavour after discovering there was an actual Chris Cook performing at the Festival this year. I mean, that’s exactly my name. Give or take an ‘e’.

But look at it this way. Ask anyone who performs at this Festival for tips on how to choose shows to see, and everyone will tell you – indeed they’ll insist on it – that the best way to “do the Fringe” is to pick a show totally at random and take a punt on it. “Flick through the programme”, they’ll say, “pick a random page and jab your finger in a random fashion, and go see whatever you’re now pointing at”. But every time I do that I end pointing at the Fringe Society Annual General Meeting. And I’ve already seen that show, way back in 2008 (great dramatic build up, but no resignations, what an anti-climax).

And anyway, Grandad, who uses the Fringe Programme anymore? It’s all online these days. And whatever you think of the Fringe’s new website, I’m pretty sure you can’t flick any pages.
So why not navigate the Fringe seeing only shows by people with the same name as you? In fact, I highly recommend it. Well, I do if your name is Chris. As you’ll see from the reviews below, it’s a strategy that’s paid off pretty damn well so far, even if it has made me look like one of those “he gives everything four stars” kind of reviewers.

Though the comedy Chrises are as yet far from exhausted, and I’ll be posting more Chris show reviews online here later this week. Though if this run of 4/5s gets too dramatically broken maybe I’ll get onto deed poll and become a Simon. Amstell, Munnery, even Mayo is in town. That’d work.


Chris Martin: Responsibilliness (Phil McIntyre Entertainments/Aura Talent Ltd)
More into Yahoo Answers than Wikipedia, Chris Martin is mainly interested in the inane questions web-users ask, rather than in any actual trivia the net can provide. Though he did inform us that the McDonalds staff rating system now rewards a maximum of four stars, rather than the former five. Quite how a Big Mac seller might earn these stars is a (very) loose theme for the show, punctuating a series of expertly delivered life stories, with a little drama here and there, and plenty of big laughs throughout (even and especially with his “shit routine”). Whether he earns his four McDonalds stars I won’t say, but Martin easily gets four of mine (though we do still mark out of five).
Pleasance Courtyard, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Chris Cooke]

Chris Turner: Pretty Fly (Fluid Thinking)
However strong your passion for Dre, a career in hip-hop is going to be tricky if you’re a privately educated white boy from suburban Manchester. Not because of race, you’ll just likely lack the life experiences that make for credible rap. So hip-hop fanatic and decent rap-deliverer Chris Turner is wise to have instead turned to stand-up. Though if your comedy draws heavily on real life, as Turner’s does, a few more life-dramas would be useful here too. Nevertheless, he makes good use of his limited story bank – disapproving mother, flunking college, first love interest – partly by scattering groansome (in a Tim Vine-style good way) puns throughout the proceedings. Certainly one to watch, and therefore worth watching now.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Chris Cooke]

Chris Cook: Charlatan (Chris Cook Magic / PBH’s Free Fringe)
So, other Chris Cook, what have you got? Well, an entertaining hour of tricks and patter, that’s what, with enough magical twists to generate some post-show mental rewinds (“now, when did he set that up?”). It isn’t the slickest magic show, for obvious budgetary reasons, though tricks can be better without the slick. True, some of the close-up magic was a little too close-up even in a smallish venue; that budget, when Cook gets it, could be spent on some kind of video set up perhaps. But the gasps from the front-row meant this wasn’t too problematic. Cook’s show may not yet warrant five stars, but it was certainly worth the five pounds I dropped in his hat on exiting.
Voodoo Rooms, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Chris Cooke]

Chris Kent: Uncorked
A video camera recorded me walking into this show. A documentary’s being made we’re told. And after an hour in Kent’s world, complete with Mum, Dad, little brother and the family dog, it’s a documentary I’d quite like to see. Kent’s family and friends feature heavily in his always entertaining and often very funny stories of growing up in the rough end of Cork. And while you’ve no idea how much comedic license is employed, you do feel quite close to this clan by the show’s conclusion. The evidence then produced of the events just described was a nice touch, even if it did feel like a bit of an after-thought. Nevertheless, ‘Chris Kent: Uncorked’ left you charmed and smiling.
Gilded Balloon, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Chris Cooke]