Jack Rooke: Happy Hour

A deliciously funny show about mental health and looking after the people you care about

★★★★
theatre review | Read in About 2 minutes
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Jack Rooke
Published 06 Aug 2017

As the government continues to hack away at mental health provision, vulnerable people’s lives are further endangered. This is a big concern for Jack Rooke, who wants us to talk about our mental health. But talking about it isn’t enough. Look after your mates. Make sure that if they’re feeling down, they find help. Because if you don’t, bad things can happen.

His show isn’t a lecture, though. It’s a hilarious, sparkly romp through his uni years. It's also a letter to one of his best mates, Olly. They met as journalism students when Rooke was a first year and Olly ran the university’s radio station. Schmoozing during freshers’ week proved a false start after Olly ridiculed his hair, but the two soon became good friends.

Rooke’s stories of all-night drinking sessions, performance poetry and pub crawls get plenty of laughs, and deservedly so. He’s a hilarious, instinctual performer who can change the mood of the room in a second. It’s a skill he uses to great effect in this comedic show about a serious subject. By the end of Olly’s story, sniffles are heard throughout the audience.

Rooke is supported by Ben Welsh, who takes on entertaining responsibilities above and beyond those usually designated to an assistant. As much as this is a piece about Rooke coping with the dark side of mental health, it’s also a celebration of friendship and a reminder to look after the people you care about. Though tear-inducing, it also lifts the spirit to celestial heights.