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Jack Rooke: Happy Hour review at Underbelly, Edinburgh – ‘quirky humour’

Jack Rooke

It seems to Jack Rooke that far too many people and pets have died in his life so far. When his friend Olly commits suicide, it galvanises him into action and the result is Jack Rooke: Happy Hour.

Rooke’s had several jobs since graduating but it’s through his poetry slam group that he seems most at ease. He has a gregarious stage presence that veers heavily toward self-deprecating humour.

Using mixed media, including footage from his BBC Three documentary series, Happy Man, Rooke tells his story with innate honesty, energy and plenty of quirky humour. He is accompanied on his mission by his friend Ben Welch, who acts a stage manager, straight man and dancing partner.

Rooke gratefully references the help his producers have given him with this project, and it’s a testament to the pastoral care that can permeate the Fringe, often undetected.

The over-arching message of Happy Hour is that the time for talking about mental health is over and it’s time something was actually done about it. Rooke’s fragmented and occasionally amusing show has its heart in the right place, but its style probably needs a longer gestation period and a little more focus.

Verdict
Amiable if slightly shambolic account of a friendship that ended too soon

Production

Production
Jack Rooke: Happy Hour
Venue
Underbelly Cowgate
City
Edinburgh
Starts
August 3, 2017
Ends
August 27, 2017
Authors
Jack Rooke
Creator
Jack Rooke
Director
Charlotte Bennett
Lighting
Ziggy Jacobs Wyburn
Video
Gemma Cairney, Harriet Jordan-Wrench
Cast includes
Jack Rooke, Ben Welch
Producer
David Luff, Sarah Dodd
Running time
1hr