Review: Jack Rooke: Good Grief @ HOME, Manchester

The much-anticipated Jack Rooke: Good Grief is playing at HOME in Manchester.

In it, Jack takes the audience on a journey of buttered malt loaf, lasagne and custard creams whilst exposing the personal story of bereavement that he shares with his 85-year old nan.

This unique show presents an exploration into death in an extraordinary heartfelt and humorous way.

Tenderly and cleverly written, it sensitively tackles one of the most painful subjects imaginable with an abudance of laughs and jokes.

This critically-acclaimed debut blends comedy with original storytelling and short clips from a documentary.

Comedian Jack shines a light on how we deal with bereavement and how we treat others – by typically not wanting to talk or discuss how we feel – using bittersweet humour.

Co-written with nan Sicely, it features the two reminiscing tenderly over the days leading up to Jack’s father’s death and the harrowing aftermath.

It’s immediately clear that Jack is both brave and courageous for wanting to tell his story in such a manner.

Jack sits on the stage on a kitchen chair, while at the side of him is a coffin full of sympathy food.

The comic begins by showing a photo album about his birth and introduces you to his family. Sadly, at age 15 he lost his dad to cancer.

Jack keeps the audience gripped as he then shares how he and his family dealt with the grief of losing their patriarch.

Telling the tale of his life and rating various moments on the awkward monitor, from the start of the performance people are hanging on his every word.

There are those who are left subdued and those who are left teary as the recollections pluck on their heartstrings.

Throughout the show, Jack revisits his teen years and touches upon his need to be in control – all the while sticking to his apple pie and cream diet!

Following the show, Jack – who is riding a wave of momentum after Good Grief was nominated for Best Show by an Emerging Artist in the Total Theatre Awards 2015 – spoke to MM about his motivation for tackling such a difficult subject.

He said: “I have a lot to say about this topic, ‘bereavement’. I hope it empowers someone to do something about it. I choose to look at this as I was 15 and my nan was 80, we can look at grief side by side.”

All in all, Jack Rooke: Good Grief is a tender contribution to the circle of life teamed with a lot of funny anecdotes.

Oh yeah, and a box of custard creams.

*Jack Rooke: Good Grief is playing at HOME, Manchester until Friday, May 19. You can buy tickets HERE.

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