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Totally Tom – Edinburgh Festival review

Monday, August 13 2012

Outstanding performances from sketch duo Totally Tom who are too good for such a tiny venue


Totally Tom

















Bang, straight in. There's no mucking about from Totally Tom, who immediately launch into a quality sketch about two self-congratulatory journalists at a press conference, who book-end the show.

This morphs into a prison talent show in the deep south, where we meet two of the prisoners, the wily "Genius" and simpleton Kenneth. The pair's evolving relationship is the central thread of the show, until one of them ends up in the electric chair. The show then spins off into several impressive side stories involving incidental characters also played by Tom Palmer and Tom Stourton.

Both are hugely versatile, Stourton in particular, who might just be the most talented comedy actor currently plying his trade at the Fringe. He plays up the incongruity of being a big fella with the ability to dance, and his Ryan Gosling send-up is a thing of beauty (as indeed it should be).

As we move from prison school to yard to lawyer's office, the pace is kept up and the performances bullet-proof. None of that charming dishevelled bollocks here. There are also little linguistic flourishes in the writing, just to zap another synapse.

The twisting storyline gets hard to follow towards the end as the Toms alight back at the two journalists, making for a slightly crowbarred ending. The show lacks a certain something as well that's hard to pinpoint – that's vague reviewing I know but it's not a show I could really love, funny and hugely entertaining though it is. But ultimately this is an ambitious show and Totally Tom reach the heights other sketch acts simply can't. This is a tiny room for such big talent – their biggest break so far has been cameo roles on BBC3's Live at the Electric, and further TV stardom surely beckons.

4 stars

Totally Tom are on at 6.40pm at the Underbelly


Review written by Paul Fleckney

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