Review of Jack Docherty’s Edinburgh Fringe act ‘Nothing But’

Jack Docherty

Jack Docherty- ‘Nothing But’ – 5 Stars *****

It is entirely possible that those of us fortunate enough to join Jack Docherty for a wholly captivating hour this August may be  witnessing the birth of a comedy genre. A kind of Schrodinger’s Comedy. But without a cat. Or, indeed, a box.  The hour could be entirely filled with the truth , in which case this is probably the most exquisitely crafted, autobiograpical stand up performance you will ever see. The hour could be filled with fiction, in which case it is one of the most exquisitely crafted dramatic performances you will ever see. The knife edge along which it dances – sometimes a tango, sometimes disco, sometimes just a dad dance – is serrated with well known names and places and sharp with real events.

The Edinburgh Fringe, for example. It makes for a unique ‘edge’ to the hour.  Jack (or is it ‘Jack’ ?) creates a chronological kaleidoscope that whirls his timeline backwards and forwards on a turn of a thought.  Now we are five, now we are fifty … now we are a son, now we are a father. Love is born in a second and dies over years. All this and jokes too ! What’s not to love ? Nothing.  The simplest (and perfectly executed)  lighting states tell us when we move, but not where. Docherty  is hilarious, guilt-stricken, excited, disappointed, and frequently so lost that it hurts us.  But then he is hilarious again and we laugh again. We laugh a lot.  Audiences should also be aware that, whether Jack is Jack or ‘Jack’, he gets quite a lot more action in the downstairs department than you might expect from a performer known predominantly for comic characters of the chronically emotionally constipated variety. I am not going to tell you the story. I am not even going to hint at it, save to say that fans of 90’s cinematic rom-com will not be disapointed and lovers of The Cat in the Hat will finally see its emotional importance recognised.

It is absolutely (no pun intended) everything that makes Fringe performances so wonderful. One man standing on a stage. Three boxes behind him. And an entire audience in the palm of his hand.

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