Tracey Cosgrove – Half a Wake
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Tracey Cosgrove – Half a Wake

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She tells the audience how lovely they look. “But not as lovely as me,” she quips, explaining that she makes her own clothes and likes to wear things that reflect her interests.

It’s an attention-grabbing start and the rest of the show keeps pace. The show’s title, Half a Wake, sets the scene for Cosgrove’s main topic (planning her own funeral) as well as her style (she throws in plenty of groan-out-loud-worthy puns).

But nothing in the title or the blurb could have prepared the audience for Cosgrove’s incredible impersonations and finely-tuned observation. She begins with the story of her Uncle Brian’s death, the ensuing family spats, and the less-than-tasteful eulogy given by her dodgy second cousin Darryl. With a toss of the head, a convincing drawl or an overenthusiastic wink she inhabits each character completely, scarily, memorably.

It’s fair to worry that talking about funerals might not be funny. But Cosgrove approaches the topic with gusto, planning her own children’s party-style wake with red cordial, her favourite music and a trampoline. In fact the children’s party stories went on for so long it became unclear whether the funeral jokes were over, but she tied it back together neatly.

Less experienced comedians sometimes let their stories drag on without getting to the punchline, forgetting to include jokes along the way. Not so with Cosgrove, who has packed her show with jokes and kept the audience laughing throughout.

Half a Wake is particularly suitable for anyone who has a complicated extended family or a second cousin like Darryl. But Cosgrove’s warm, down-to-earth storytelling has broad appeal.

If you want to take a chance on a comic you haven’t seen on the telly, definitely choose Tracey Cosgrove. You won’t be disappointed.

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