Given the importance many people put on their annual holiday — the glittering gift to themselves for enduring the hard slog of everyday life for the rest of the year — there’s certainly potential in a show about when things go spectacularly or embarrassingly wrong. So, it’s a shame when you leave this kind of show with a sense of ennui mirrored by the sudden heavy rain pouring down outside the venue.
In theory, When Holidays Attack certainly has potential; four, interlinked narratives based on Andrew Cox’s own experiences of travelling the world, and the mistakes he made from which he hopes his audience will learn important lessons: to plan the trip from the airport to the hotel with precision; to choose the hotel with care; to not pick up mysterious objects in the bedroom without switching the light on first; and to always check the weather before heading out on a long trek. All quite sensible advice, but it wasn’t really the basis for an hour-long spoken word show.
Cox was born in the US, spent his first seven years in Scotland -inheriting a love of talking, he said - then moved to Australia, subsequently gaining that nation’s well-known tradition for wanderlust which has since seen him - and his wife - visit more than 40 countries around the globe. Whether these are actual ‘holidays’ is a moot point he doesn’t answer, as we’re given no idea of what his actual ‘day job’ is.
As a seasoned traveller, Cox clearly speaks with genuine experience — and had some fun with the rest of the world’s apparent reliance on globe-trotting Australians as their ‘canary in the mine’ when it comes to deciding if some foreign locale is worth visiting or not. However, while Cox is a fine enough writer, on the evidence of this show he’s neither a stand-up comedian nor a particularly gifted raconteur; while his stories certainly have a clearly defined emotional narrative at their core, it’s ill-served by Cox’s own level of delivery, which all too often lacks the emotional punch his stories deserve.