The title for Ray Peacock’s 2014 Fringe show is certainly apt; his entrance music comes on so loudly and suddenly that members of the audience close to the PA, including your humble correspondent, soil themselves a little bit and jump a half mile in the air. Ray Peacock knows this, and sometimes watches from the side of the stage through a curtain. A troublemaker, then, is young Peacock. The next hour or so if filled with funny anecdotes of Ray going just a step too far and causing all kinds of chaos. He seems to have an uncontrollable compulsion to say/do/touch the wrong thing, no matter what kind of bother it gets him in.
While his stories are assuredly entertaining, there is always present a psychological angle that sends the show into deeper and darker avenues. That aforementioned compulsion is not a healthy thing, and the confessional nature of the show can take a sharp turn, although he is careful to never let things get too maudlin. He does admit that he has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which may explain a lot, but he also has realised that his parents are also partly responsible for his recklessness. His stories about his parents are generally the highlights, surprisingly tender but also hilarious.
While Peacock is willing to take his audience to dark places, he never dwells there for long, and is always quick to bring everyone back with a sharp gag. He is nothing if not a professional, even if one of his anecdotes involves actively trying to get everyone in his audience to walk out on the show. Tonight’s audience was much more keen on the brash but amiable performer.