Review: Alun Cochrane @ Warwick Arts Centre, 25th February 2018

Alun Cochrane
Alun Cochrane: minutiae and mirth

As show titles go, Alunish Cochranish isn’t the most attention-grabbing headline you’ll see, but it is pretty accurate. In fact, it does a remarkable job of signalling what to expect from the Yorkshire-born stand-up – it’s possibly the most ‘Alun Cochrane’ show that Alun Cochrane has ever done.

What that resulted in was an hour of observational comedy – a disjointed collection of stories from Cochrane’s life, performed warmly and in his unmistakably gentle way. After being ably supported by Mike Newall, Cochrane delved into material about sneezing, the prison service, and a host of subjects plucked from everyday life, from which he’d effortlessly wring layers of jokes and relatable whimsy.

It’s when he reached for meatier topics such as religion and politics that the level started to dip. While it’s certainly understandable that some comics might feel that Brexit is too divisive an issue to take a firm position on during a set, Cochrane opted to raise it but without really adding much of substance to the conversation – a safe routine couched in caveats and hedged bets, which didn’t alienate any political allegiances but also didn’t seem to introduce much in the way of material strong enough to justify the detour.

A routine about the weird intricacies of greetings and goodbyes got things back in track, though, and highlighted where Cochrane’s strengths lie. There’s an everyman quality to his performance style, and a universality to his material, which imbued vignettes such as this with a potent humour – it’s an almost Seinfeldian obsession with the minutiae of life and social situations which have underpinned his act, but delivered with such a unique, off-kilter take on the world that Cochrane really doesn’t sound like anyone else.

And on the whole, that’s something we should all be grateful for.

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Author: whoslaughingnowblog

My name is Simon Harper. I'm a freelance journalist specialising in writing about music and comedy. My work has been published by the Birmingham Post, Arena, Bearded, the BBC and Channel 4, among others. I have also written for BBC Radio 4 Extra's Newsjack, as well as co-writing and -hosting the Comedy Fix podcast. I've been writing about comedy in Coventry, Birmingham and the West Midlands as Who's Laughing Now? since 2008. Here you'll find reviews, previews, interviews and other stuff about live comedy in the area.

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