Browse reviews

Edinburgh Fringe 2010


Tom Wainwright

Venue: Underbelly - Big Belly


Low Down

Written and performed by Tom Wainwright and directed by Amelia Sears, Pedestrian is a tremendous and very funny performance which tells the captivating story of Tom’s repetitive nightmare of being pursued by a giant goldfish down a shopping street full of thoroughly awful, normal people.


Pedestrian tells the story of Tom Wainwright’s repetitive nightmare.  On stage is a goldfish in a bowl (yes, a real live goldfish) and two plush red velvet curtains, which are soon drawn back to reveal a projection screen, set back behind strips of mirror along each edge.  We see a solar system, and then a moving walkway.  After feeding the fish, Tom is walking down a pedestrianised shopping street.  Walking, but never really getting anywhere.  Walking, past those dreadful chain stores and coffee shops we know far too well.  And he keeps seeing a giant goldfish, sitting outside Costa Coffee drinking a soya latte, and tipping his hat at Tom. 

The story of Tom’s dream is told through a series of questions and answers (“and what happened next?”) all supported superbly by a high energy and varied soundtrack, video projection on the screen, and – with the assistance of an overhead projector – on the inside of the goldfish bowl.  Although it is unclear who this other voice is supposed to be, this is unimportant.  As he continues down this hellish shopping street Tom relates his encounters with a number of charity fundraisers – these dreadful characters, whom we all recognise, are hilariously portrayed with meticulous timing and admirable and ceaseless energy.   It’s less than ten minutes into the show and the audience are applauding.  And rightly so. 

We learn of his disastrous encounter with a girl staring forlornly at a closed down Woolworths, and of the different types of people you pass en route and in the Tesco metro on their ‘lunch-hour-half-hour’, including the Cling Film Mafia (who drink tea that tastes like spoon) and The Fuckwits (who wouldn’t even dream of making a packed lunch).  The list goes on, and Tom’s insights into these recognisable characters are described and portrayed with drive and precision.

Tom’s dream is all over the place, as dreams truly are.  He meets the President of the USA, Harold Pinter, and a boy who wants to be a terrorist.  His liver and bodily organs come flying out of his anus, his body dissembles itself and reforms, and an army of chanting fish trap him in an underwater playground game.  All the while, on the inside of the fishbowl, we see a spinning top, the world, the American flag, one of those LSD smiley faces… 

The video projections and sound in this piece are an integral part of the show, and Tim Streader’s lighting is at times incredibly striking. 

Pedestrian dips its toes into the murky waters human behaviour, politics and religion.  The combination of Amelia Sears’ scrupulous direction, Simon Wainwright’s fantastic video and sound, and Tom Wainwright’s sharp and hilarious script, combine to make Pedestrian an exceptional one-man show.  Delivered with enough energy to leave your head spinning, there is no disputing the brilliance of this piece of theatre.