Alun Cochrane’s 2017 offering
It’s good enough, but with so much to see this August you can probably do better.
It’s clear that Cochrane understands his own impact on a room and can control this beat for beat, from the facial expressions on the front row down to which demographic each line is targeted towards. This leads to confusing contradictions such as his promise not to cover any political material, which is promptly broken less than ten minutes into the set, provoking the awkward reaction that Cochrane predicted and resulting in a self-aware chuckle from the audience. A strange way to go about entertaining, but it does work for the most part. Other musings follow in a disconnected manner, with observational comedy remaining a consistent strong point.
This set is a self-proclaimed slow burner, but I was left wondering at the end whether it had ever really got started. I’m also not sure whether pointing out the weaknesses of a set within a show makes them more allowable, as it seems to here.
As Cochrane says himself, it’s baffling that with such an overwhelmingly large array of comic potential available at the Fringe, so many people have packed into a warm underground room to watch this pretty average solo show. For me, the line in Cochrane’s attitude between relaxed and lazy is too blurred to feel that this is really a show that can be called value for money at the largest international arts festival in the world. One particularly long sequence about wasting police time seems to sum up this production perfectly: it’s good enough, but with so much to see this August you can probably do better.