Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Fringe Review - Tom Wrigglesworth: I'm Struggling To See How That's Helping, Pleasance Below, 03/08/2008

Hardly a household name, despite having won So You Think You're Funny five years ago, Tom Wrigglesworth is a lanky Yorkshireman with wildly unlikely hair who adopts the always popular style of the slightly befuddled Englishman nonplussed by the world around him.

Wrigglesworth greets his audience from the stage, already there seated on a stool, noodling away on a guitar while making wryly sardonic comments about those coming in. On this particular day he seems to have an obsession with umbrellas, having spotted a large and burly man carrying a particularly effeminate-looking example of said article, and this acts as a good way to get the audience warmed up and ready for comedy by the time they are in their seats.

The broad theme of the show, as can probably be surmised from the title, is the little things in life which seem designed to baffle us. But Wrigglesworth himself admits very early on that this is merely a device to allow him to paint on a wide-ranging canvas by being deliberately vague about the actual focus. It is admissions of this kind that help him to make the show seem like an inclusive experience, a kind of "we're all in this together" attitude which you can't help finding yourself warming to.

Many of his themes during the show are broad, a number of them are the usual popular targets, and he includes a routine on Facebook which seems to be becoming this year's ever-present topic, and while nothing he does is exactly ground-breaking most of his routines are funny, find original things to say, and hit their mark.

Meanwhile his audience banter is very good, and he finds particular fun in having a French girl in the front row whose boyfriend frequently has to explain points of reference to her.

Overall this is one of those shows that you often come across in the Fringe, that are not going to be troubling any of the awards panels, but nonetheless prove a highly enjoyable way of whiling away an hour and send you back onto the street with a broad smile on your face.

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