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Edinburgh Fringe 2016

Help Us Tom Toal, You’re Our Only Hope

Tom Toal

Genre: Comedy, Stand-up

Venue: Ciao Roma

Festival:


Low Down

We are promised a hero who can come and ensure that the predictions of 2003 are not going to come true. Our saviour Tom Toal, who seems to have brought the predictions with him is in fine fettle and sure he can pull this one off. This is free, easy and great stand up.

Review

Tom is very funny. He starts with the lighting refusing to work the way it ought and unfazed he goes on from there. We get his wedding, how he heard the predictions and his time in Strictly Come Dancing as a logger whilst coming across one member of Blazing Squad and then a second at the BBC. It ends with him donning a space helmet… and the world is saved.

So the preamble on the leaflet seemed to get lost in translation but with the handy help of an Australian named James we are all sorted. James is used to come up from the audience and give some help to Tom in reading lines and helping the narrative. Playing the guy from the future who gives him his predictions, the script sections are possibly, for me, where the cleverness is most evident. This has been carefully constructed and what we see is him getting in the concept of payment into James’s lines – deft work in a free, chuck it in the bucket show – whilst we laugh enough to suggest success.

I really liked the routines about Blazing Squad and storytelling is a clearly a massive strength as we all seemed to stay with him in a rambling meander through it. Leaving school at 16 and then returning for 6th form, maybe because I am Scottish, seems incongruous but again this guy can weave a yarn.

As always, with free shows, props were minimalistic and there was hardly a set to mention. As a drama teacher I was of course delighted to learn how good my colleagues were at his school and much of what he said struck a chord… or corduroy…

Overall this is a stand up who may be on the way up and with a new family in toe, having got through long distance relationships it was heartening to hear him body swerve the more obvious material and try and construct something with a bit of substance. To that end we got entertained and a window on the life of someone we might point at one day and say I paid nothing to go and see him once.

And in the spirit of saving the world… that’s it sir…

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Tom Toal