Dan Cook: Community Service

When a man chooses to present an hour of unrelenting comedy wearing an orange jumpsuit and sequinned jacket, you know he doesn't take himself too seriously. We don't take him seriously either and therein lies the appeal of his show. Dan Cook, formerly of sketch troupe Delete the Banjax, warns us early on that none of his sketches really have a punchline, yet all of them seem to work. Whether it’s thanks to a through-line, an absurdist twist or an awful pun, Cook rarely fails to get a laugh.

Beside Cook are Rose Johnson and Camille Ucan; not mentioned in his advertising but still intrinsic to the show. Johnson plays the straight-man to Cook's wonderfully silly foil, providing the sketch show with a backbone of narrative. Cook, it would appear, has committed a minor crime and has chosen to perform at the Fringe as part of his Community Service. Every time a sketch starts to go awry or into the realms of the wildly inappropriate, therefore, Johnson is there to rein him back in. Even when the show runs away with itself, or when the lack of punchline leaves us having to decipher the point of a sketch, the jaunty music punctuating each cut-scene keeps energy levels high.

Cook's seeming mistrust of his own work ensures that we don't misunderstand his aims. This is absurdism and silliness just for the sake of being silly. He warns us beforehand when a cringeworthy pun is on the way and though he acts like he is forced to be there, it is obvious that he revels in performance. The tiny venue makes it possible for the comic to stare down audience members as he delivers one-liners, meaning that, as well as the joke, we have the character, the intimate gaze of the comedian and the eventual giggle he allows himself.

If this is punishment for Cook's character, it certainly isn't for his audience. The fifty minutes fly by in a whirl of imagined glitter, a dog onesie and a lot of service to the community. And a love song about leprosy.

Reviews by Jenni Ajderian

Just The Tonic at the Caves

Afternoon Delight

★★★
Citrus Club

Gower Rangers

★★★
Southsider

An Introduction to Twerking

★★★★
Stand in the Square

Keep the Kids Out!

★★★★
Sweet Grassmarket

The Universal Recipe

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

The Blurb

I've done a crime (soz), now I've got to do the time, and by time, I mean this show. Things featured in it are: sketches, songs and Sandra (my community support officer). #YOLO ‘Consistently excellent’ (Guardian).

Most Popular See More

Frozen the Musical

From £29.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Grease the Musical

From £20.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Back to the Future - The Musical

From £45.00

More Info

Find Tickets