Jordan Brookes' latest hour signals a minor evolution in Fringe comedy, beyond the sincere dead relative tribute but also the mockery of it. In terms of intent, his stated aim of acknowledging his late grandmother feels heartfelt. But he's also conveying it quasi-physically, with his lungs, arsehole and eyes rolled right back into his head, this expressive comic delivering a bizarre panegyric that's as much about exercising control over his body as exorcising the demons within it. Featuring the basest elements of familial, self and animal love, Body of Work is a magnetic display, with Brookes' limber, often grotesque performance too big for his intimate venue.
His proximity to the crowd remains a boon though, as it lets him truly force a connection onto them, even as he's mouthing obscene vocal warm-ups. The suggestion that any one of us could storm the stage reinforces a sense of risk, regrettably confirmed by a smattering of walkouts. Such self-indulgent strangeness won't be for everyone.
For the most part, Brookes is gamely playful, messing about with the conventions of mime, character and confessional comedy, seemingly with no great intent beyond seeing if he can get away with it. But his animated eyes and, indeed, complicit other body parts are windows into his troubled soul. As in previous years, he raises his mental health without browbeating you with it, his cartoonish delivery keeping it light even as he explores what can only be characterised as some extremely dark and truly fucked up shit.