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Edinburgh Fringe 2014

Tube Spotting

Geoff Marshall

Genre: Verbatim Theatre

Venue: Electric Circus


Low Down

Geoff Marshall is a bit of a legend and has had two Guinness World Records to his name. This is the story of how he got them, raised money for charity and his continued fight against his arch nemesis, the Silhouette man…


Geoff Marshall set out in the early part of this century to beat the Guinness World record for travelling round the whole of the London underground in the fastest time. In 2004 he was able to manage it and got his certificate from the Guinness Book of World Records. Since then he has been overtaken, got married, got divorced, went to see every town in the States which has the same name as a London tube station, become an author, been followed by London radio, interviewed by the BBC, courted by Big Brother and returned to reclaim his title. And that is his second world title.

This may be a tour round the world of the geek but it has some great humour and despite a couple of awful jokes – that would have been belters had they been delivered – this is as fascinating as the Tube gets for people who don’t live in London. That may sound unfair because this was actually both entertaining and fascinating.

The obvious reasons for this are twofold. Firstly Geoff Marshall wears no airs or graces and admits straight up – this is weird. His self deprecatory humour does elicit our sympathy but this is a guy who spends an entire day – and about £20 – trying to beat a World Record. He does this on an irregular basis and has a couple of times also done it for charity. Geoff Marshall is an ordinary bloke who has every right to do what he does but he is also an engaging presence. You trust him and go on this journey with him.

What does let him down is that his script is mainly in his head and it lacks a bit of togetherness. I reckon we could have shaved 10/15 minutes off the show and still told a great tale. It also meandered a little over social media. I was trying to work out what was the point other than there are trolls out there… but we know that already. The conceit involving the stage manager doesn’t work. Getting into the rap could do with some thought though the rap is OK – not fast enough?

The material and Geoff are backed up with what every geek should have – video that fits and works in large screens! This was exceptional and the graphics fantastic. It brought much of the humour – the number 15 – and gave us something more interesting than some bloke talking about being on the London tube for 16/18 hours. I thought the Edinburgh Tram Challenge a genius idea. Getting people from the audience to take it on and then reporting on who had managed it for the next show – further genius.

Marshall drew us into the wee world he had created and as someone who has been doing the 10 venues in 1 day challenge, I salute him. My challenges are far shorter than the Tube challenge but a wee bit harder than the Tram Challenge. It means I have to allow that my inner geek was helped today and I hope that the Silhouette man remains defeated and the record intact.