Jordan Brookes @ Pleasance Courtyard

Jordan Brookes' tribute to his nan is intense, insane and exceptional

Review by Ben Venables | 25 Aug 2017
  • Jordan Brookes

There are academics attempting to define all the constituent parts of comedy who'd do well to watch Jordan Brookes. There are moments in Body of Work when it seems there is no comedic skill he can't deploy. From the slightest mime to the very intonation of his words, there's nothing Brookes doesn't have in his arsenal. It makes for an exhilarating hour where anything can seem to happen, in any way.

In other words, there's the constant presence of one of the biggest comedy factors of all – surprise. It is rather tormenting at times; like the Edinburgh hour equivalent of an impish brat shouting "just kidding" at the end of every routine. He's both an unreliable narrator and a great big tease. But this is a show that is trap door after trap door, with Brookes' attempts to tell the story of his deceased nan reminiscent of Rik Mayall doing Jackanory – had that story time taken a while to get started and then bent into some seemingly psychopathic and surreal turns. 

Body of Work has a structure as wrinkled and folded as the human brain, an organ where the subtlest of cognitive changes can bring down our capacity to order the world into frightful chaos. Like many comedians doing a poignant show, Brookes is making a point. Albeit he's parodying, subverting and baiting the Comedy Award judge present tonight while doing so. Or maybe he just enjoys messing with our minds.

While his own mind may have been a difficult place for Brookes at times, it is a privilege to live in his head for an hour. 

Jordan Brookes: Body of Work, Pleasance Courtyard (Bunker One), until 28 Aug, 11pm, £6-£8