Fred Cooke returns this year to the Edinburgh Fringe with his Hiberno-centric eclectic entourage of keyboard, guitar, discomfort, hysteria, and laughs.
Though described as a musical show, Cooke’s idiosyncratic nature results in more in a jolly dilly dally where melody is only one facet to the piece as a whole. Cooke uses irony and unpredictable pacing to turn musical comedy on its head.
Donning jazzy sparkling sportswear, Cooke delivers solid humour throughout his one hour (or perhaps slightly under) performance.
A charming character, Cooke woes the audience to the extent that it, at points, feels as much like a session with friends as it does with an on-edge fringe comedian. In one instance he even remembered and recalled with an audience member their interaction the previous year, all whilst tying it in to the comedy at hand.
When telling his jokes he stares down his audience in the eye, challenging them not to laugh. Thankfully, there isn’t much of a reason to accept this challenge.
His scatty character flows nicely with the abrupt and twisty structure of the show, where at no point can what is coming next be predicted.
With jokes ranging from filthy to wholesome, Dancing with the Stars to the UVF, Fred Space is a holistic and thorough show that feels complete by the end, even if it’s purposefully difficult to grasp what the show was about.
As the Fringe draws to a close for another year, one can only hope Cooke returns with another display of chaos next time.
A likeable, crazed, and hilarious man, Cooke’s ‘Fred Space’ is a treasure of a performance due to both its quality, purposeful lack-there-of, and uniqueness that’ll stay with you for time to come.