Edinburgh Fringe 2022
Tom Little delivers an hour of fast-paced, warm and intelligent comedy. He may appear nervous and socially awkward and be worried about his own physical decline, but fear-not his mind and comedy skills are as sharp as anything. His unique view on the world and likeable persona mean that if you are looking for something comedic that represents a fine example of its type and an exemplar of what good comedy can be then this is a must-see show.
According to the title of his show Tom Little has good reviews, and so I prepare myself to be impressed. Having seen him before, earlier this year on the Political Breakfast panel show during the Leicester Fringe, I already had a sense of his style; northern, self-deprecating, quirky and funny. With plenty of energy, fast-talking nervousness and almost an hour of original and clever comedy he did not disappoint. With reference to his pace of delivery he claims that he is squeezing 90 minutes of material into every hour, he may be selling himself short. He certainly packs in a lot of content into his allotted time. His north-west accent, distinctive voice and slightly stooped appearance all add to a likeable stage persona that means he disarms the audience easily and soon has them on his side.
Authenticity is a common component of stand-up, the audience need to buy in to and believe what they are being told. We have no reason to doubt the honesty of Tom’s amazing revelations. It is comedy folklore that James Acaster’s girlfriend left him for Rowan Atkinson, aka Mr Bean. It seems Tom Little may have gone one better as it turns out his current girlfriend used to date someone very mature and famous too. The everyday topics covered, including Christmas, school, weddings and relationships may be nothing new but Little’s unique angle of approach and sideways take provides plenty of laughs, surprises and a consistently entertaining 55 minutes.
Tom may be a Millennial but he is worried he is growing old fast and he now realises that when it comes to love and property ownership perhaps compromise is the key. Public transport looms large in this comedian’s life, from awkward train travel to journeys by bus. It is a matter of record that folk are more friendly up north, but at last we are provided with a sound explanation for late running rural bus services, at least the ones Tom travels on.
At this very festival back in 1996 I saw a young Noel Fielding in the Daily Telegraph Open Mic final, the one that Frankie Boyle won, he was talking in an amusing and surreal way about biscuits. You might have thought biscuit material has been dunked to death, with nothing left for today’s stand-ups apart from a few crumbs. However, it is a good indication of Tom’s comedic skills and his unique and inventive nature that he can mine this, along with many other everyday topics, in a new and hilarious way.
Tom is no newcomer; he was a BBC New Comedian finalist in 2014 and Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year in 2015, so he is an experienced performer and despite any timidity and nervousness of his on-stage persona he certainly knows what he is doing. He tells us that he is worried that he has lost the good looks of a Greek god that he had when he was 20, although photographic evidence from back then is surprisingly scant. He also tells us that when he looks in the mirror he worries about a general physical decline. Even if he is right, he needn’t worry too much as the audience who watched him on this day only saw the inner beauty of a highly original and talented comedic mind. This is a PBH Free Fringe pay what you want bucket collection gig, and it is bound to be popular. To avoid disappointment, you are advised to arrive early and bag your spot in the queue on Cowgate under the giant dripping archway of George IV Bridge. If you like intelligent and playful stand-up then this really is an unmissable show. Catch him now for a mere fiver, or whatever you can afford to drop in the after-show collection, as this comedian is surely destined for bigger things.