Watching Daniel Cook run wildly around Pleasance’s Bunker Two, three things are clear: 1. He’s really, really funny; 2. He knows who he is as a performer; and 3. He really likes his sky blue trainers. Telling the story of his feline companion Carpet (yes, that is the actual name of the cat), Cook takes us on a funny little journey that avoids so many classic Fringe stand up landmines.
If Cook was any more manic he would probably have to be sectioned
Cook begins with a healthy dose of audience appreciation, accepting that we could of been anywhere else and perhaps should of been while hilariously suggesting he’s just a knock-off Ivo Graham. But as he said this with a shriek and proceeded to storm around the stage appearing (and only appearing) to be on speed to a level that would surely make Ivo run for the hills, it was pretty easy to see Cook wasn’t trying to be at all like anyone else. He blazes through his story swiftly but still manages to take the audience with him the entire way through – if anything he could afford to take more time to enjoy what he’s saying. The tale of Carpet the cat is thoroughly witty and peppered with hilarious tangents such as stories of Cook’s own teenage unpleasantness – all wonderfully somehow connected to the main narrative. In addition, his side-riffing about the setting of the Bunker was priceless.
Cook’s interaction with the audience is carefully considered and just on the right side of imposing. Similarly, if Cook was any more manic he would probably have to be sectioned. It’s all just enough to be completely bonkers and hysterical but not too dramatic that it loses its charm. This said, Cook’s theatricality is one of his strongest attributes as a comedian; even touches such as performing some of his set from a sofa onstage feel like a nice way to add some drama and storytelling to proceedings. There is a brilliant sense of showmanship that separates Cook from the sea of stand ups at the Fringe as he fantastically balances comedic monologue with audience connection.
Carpet is a truly different kind of show performed by a truly different kind of stand up in Daniel Cook. It’s a gem, a gift to those who watch it. Don’t believe me? Believe his glimmering eyes.