Nick Cody talks for a bit about an encounter with a real-life bear during the latter part of his show. This tale isn’t surprising, given that he also spends quite a bit of time talking about (and showing us some of) his abundant body hair. And actually, he reminds me more than a little of a big, cuddly animal.
That may or may not be the impression he wants to give. Cody quickly establishes himself as very much a bloke – he's into sports and cage fighting, and has no time for yoga. He begins with food allergies and small towns as his opening gambits, expressing his frustrations on these subjects and others in the observational vein.
But as he moves through the piece, Beard Game Strong becomes more of a series of Cody's experiences and stories, such as his hilarious encounters with an unconventional bidet. This is toilet humour good and proper, and the audience was screeching with a combination of horror and hilarity. Perhaps those of a very delicate disposition might do well to give this show a miss, but that is probably not the kind of audience Cody is aiming to attract in any case... after all, he has already made his feelings on those with lactose and gluten intolerance perfectly clear.
My favourite part of the show was a passage in which Nick had the audience helping him with 'sound effects', which involved us all making an assortment of gun sounds. It was a lovely section of interaction and formatted in a novel way – in more ways than one. His act is well delivered, even though apparently he was performing dosed up on cold and flu tablets and whisky; I wouldn't have known had he not made a joke about it, and his performance certainly wasn't lacking because of it.
Beard Game Strong is Cody's Edinburgh Fringe debut, and, while I found his material funny and thought it was solid overall, I didn't feel his act yet has the depth of humour or quite the sort of originality to really stand out among the strong crop of comedians on offer this August. But he certainly has some very good stories, a warm cheeky smile, and a very approachable 'guy next door' kind of style. I'm sure Nick Cody will have a wide appeal – the audience the night I was in were certainly having a great time, which after all, is what it's all about.