Edinburgh Fringe 2022
Slick tech and silly jokes abound in this chaotic, utterly compelling talk show that places the audience at the heart of the action. A true late night treat.
In previous years, The Mr Thing Show, a show about talk shows about things, has drawn its guests from among fellow performers at the Fringe. This year they are doing things a bit differently. In recognition of the fact that we have all been separated for the past few years because of some…thing… this year’s show is about us, the audience. What follows is a riotous seventy minutes of silly games, oddball interviews, and brilliantly appalling puns.
This does of course mean that there is audience interaction but fear not. As host Tom Clarkson assures us at the top of the show, there is no pressure to partake if you don’t want to. But if you do, there are plenty of opportunities. The show really is built around the audience and we are invited to take on the role of interviewees, performing guests, and even the camera crew, and there are a plethora of other chances to join in as well. Amidst a technicolour set and a nest of ambitious technology Clarkson and his co-hosts, Owen Visser, Puppet Steve (performed by Dan Clarkson), and Mr Robot, have curated a truly collective experience and their handling of the audience instantly puts us at ease.
The performances from the hosts are slick, with an easy chemistry that is a joy to watch. Tom Clarkson’s giddy excitement is perfectly counterpointed by Visser’s more laconic approach. Among the chaos of ping-pong-ball-firing-butts and lightning-speed editing they don’t miss a single cue and their comic timing never falters.
Puppet Steve is the real scene-stealer though, a furry purple monster whose dearest desire seems to be the pursuit of apple strudel, full of witty asides and surreal humour as he harangues the guests with questions he has Googled, or insults his human co-hosts.
This show is as daft as it comes. But it’s far more than that. Amongst the word play and jingles, the Mr Thing Show is a show that celebrates people. It is a show that sets out with the hypothesis that everyone is interesting and is proven resolutely, joyfully correct. Clarkson and Visser have set out to create an antidote to the isolation many of us have been feeling and they more than succeed.