Totally Tom

Thu 4th – Sun 28th August 2011

reviews

Fen Greatley

at 12:12 on 13th Aug 2011

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As trendy electro music played while those lucky enough to get tickets to this unpredicted Finge hit took their seats in the audience, I took a look around the room – there was barely a face over thirty. Everything was hip-hop and happening, with skinny jeans and floppy curls. And it was hot.

Within the magically transformed venue of what resembles Middle Earth, some twelve or so sketches see the two Toms charm the pants off us with their quirky brand of student comedy. It is entirely situational, other modes cheekily dismissed at the offset, such as observational.

The relationships between people are explored in a series of situations, some realstic, others not. Various characters are created, some of which reappear in different scenarios later in the set. We see a pair of caustic, self-absorbed rah girls and a creepy motorway services strip club.

The Toms' sketches are cutting and betray a sharply intelligent perspective. A roast-interspersed toast scene sees funny unfunny funny, while the absurd impracticalites of living with Shakespearean verse are revealed to us.

Both radically and subtly different approaches to the familiar are expertly deployed – a send-up of a certain recent Colin Firth movie had me in stitches. The pair succeed for two important reasons (besides being funny): they work together with astonishing levels of trust; they cover areas that they know well, mostly to do with youth, privilege and middle class. Imitations and impersonations are simply superb, as are the numerous accents affected by both of these talented young men.

Much of the humour is derived from the sexuality of, and sexual tension and latent homoeroticism between, the two. The rest relies on escalation of situations or descent into chaos, which is always well-handled. Energy levels are high throughout and physical gestures enhance their sketches massively – even their expressions often inspire laughter.

Before I hail them as the next Walliams and Lucas (they're potentially much better than that), I must say that the set wasn't perfect. A piano instruction scene is much less strong and a couple of the sketches are a little too long – they don't all stagnate, but don't maintain the same level of humour as their initial explosive entry. Some instances of repetition in scenes could be replaced with punchier exchanges.

All things considered, I thoroughly enjoyed the show but simply wasn't blown away; they'd probably make a joke about blowing me; I wouldn't mind. Do go and see this if you can get hold of a ticket.

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