Carlo Ritchie uncovers romantic tales of success and failure in 'Cooking For No One'


Cooking For No One is the solo show from one half of the acclaimed improv duo The Bear Pack, Carlo Ritchie. In this engrossing and rib-tickling hour of storytelling, Ritchie steps out on his own to great success.
Ritchie is an articulate gentleman, whose chief specialty as a solo performer is spinning an entertaining yarn. That much is clear from the outset, Ritchie opening with an utterly ridiculous and absurdly-detailed anecdote. Comedy nerds may identify Ritchie’s opening gambit as a means of reading the room before getting stuck into the meat of Cooking For No One. It’s a sound strategy and, as much as it likely helps Ritchie, it sets the tone for the audience nicely too.
While Cooking For No One darts around a bit, the show boasts an overarching story to keep audiences hooked. It helps that it’s a true-to-life tale, too, Ritchie laying bare the ways he’s rolled the dice on romance, even revisiting paranoia-inducing maladies for the crowd’s amusement.
And through it all, Ritchie exudes charm – charm enough to, at one point, usher in a long interval of silence. It’s played for laughs, of course, but one has to wonder how many performers could get away with such a potentially momentum-killing segment. It speaks to Ritchie’s talents that the interlude necessitates no recovery – he’s just able to keep the evening rolling on as normal. As for Ritchie’s comedic style, he has this expert knack of leading his audience to a bleak place, before offering sweet relief, extracting light and plentiful laughs from the darkness.
Here’s hoping Ritchie has plans for some kind of follow-up at the festival next year, because, as Cooking For No One demonstrates, he has serious talent to burn as a solo performer.
By Nick Mason