Review: Jack Rooke Love Letters To Edinburgh at Assembly
4★★★★

In his return to the Edinburgh Fringe, the effervescent Jack Rooke takes on love in all its forms. Accompanied by the massively talented and stoically handsome “deadpan queen of Dalston” Alexander Thomas on the harp, Rooke reveals the emotional toll his successful documentary on male suicide “Happy Man” had on his life outside of work.

Recalling a “Breakie D” (breakdown) at a New Year’s Eve party, Rooke reveals the seeds of this Fringe show were planted by a good friend advising him to write a show about what he knows best… “Cock”.  There is a lot on this, and I mean, a lot. Most notably a story about a blow job at a children’s festival and a septum piercing gone horribly wrong. Rooke hangs most of the show around a simple question from his “lad’s lad” brother  – “What is it like – you know- being gay?”

Rooke’s answer takes us via the surprisingly well regulated world of dick pics on Grindr, to Gay nightclubs (more than one ending with a friendly St John’s ambulance nurse) and then on into more delicate subject matter: finding friends amongst the gay community, redefining relationships with family, which old school friends are sending you photos of their De Bussey. Rooke flits between extravagant diva and earnest confessor with near pitch-perfect timing in a performance both endearingly vulnerable and invigoratingly free. I left a big fan, and I am now the proud owner of a t-shirt emblazoned with Rooke’s personal mantra: “Only Show Your Dick If Someone Asks To See Your Dick”.

Jack Rooke is at Assembly George Square Gardens – Piccolo, until the 23rd at 7.30 pm

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