Dan Cook: Community Service
Easily the most exuberant member of one-time sketch group, Delete the Banjax, Dan Cook is here on Community Service. Feeling the punitive downside of lobbing a quiche at a dog, his penance is to begrudgingly spend a month entertaining punters at the Fringe, under the watchful eye of his Support Worker, Sandra (Rose Johnson, The Birthday Girls).
Like the impossible biological output of a tryst between Steve Coogan and Harry Enfield, the sulky man-child persona is part Partridge, part Kevin, with Sandra occupying the role of brow-beaten emotional doormat. Their relationship is particularly reminiscent of Partridge’s long-suffering assistant Lynn, as she’s barked at and humiliated over the course of the hour.
Community Service is a bit like being trapped in a room with a chocolate-filled toddler, with Cook veering wildly between over-excitement and all-consuming woe. It’s dizzying and a bit hit and miss, with most skits pining for the punchline he’s deliberately neglected to write. Authentic to the pouty character yes, but not funny enough on its own.
The show is massively unpredictable and by that, entertaining. It takes a turn for the funnier when audience members are pulled into the chaos, a highlight being a scripted love rivalry between the Williams sisters. It’s a wee bit overly theatrical in parts, and whilst an original concept, doesn’t really get the best out of the clearly talented Cook. Whilst a bold format; the laughs aren’t enormous, but it’s a solid silly hour.