Alun Cochrane: A Show with a Man in It

★★
comedy review | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 12 Aug 2015

The title of Alun Cochrane's show is knowingly mundane, pointing to the ordinariness of his comic persona. He is the kind of performer you can imagine living next door to, waving to in passing as he hangs the washing out on a blowy day. This normalness is Cochrane's selling point, and in a Fringe bursting with angry miserabilists or absurd experimentalists it somehow becomes radical to be so insistent on having no quirks.

So, this show is about ordinary life and domesticity, especially that kind encountered by someone in their forties: children, Antiques Roadshow, greying hair and dinner parties. The comedy is observational, but less in that excitable Michael McIntyre manner and more functioning as a gentle prodding that encourages the audience to nod in recognition. Without pyrotechnics or an identifiable idiosyncracy Cochrane instead mines his daily routines for material. His inoffensivess is such that he queries "too far?" for material that for other comedians would be well within acceptable limits.

It's a man-of-the-people performance, and Cochrane is charming. It's easy to see why he works well on panel shows and BBC Radio 4, where he represents much of the viewing audience. But an hour of such homilies feels a real stretch, especially as he fails to offer any surprising or meaningful insight into the mundanity he acknowledges he represents. He says, "I'm a nice person", and I don't doubt it; but 60 minutes of 'nice' is a bit too pleasant.