Edinburgh Festival Fringe comedy review: Tom Binns: The Club Sets, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Kate Copstick
We are a little way into his first show of the run when Tom Binns discovers he has been abandoned by the sound technician. And his iPad has been taped to the mic stand so he can’t move it. He recovers – not seamlessly but entertainingly.
And there is no technical hitch that could put a dent in this delightful show. It borders on a surfeit of comedy riches. One of the truly impressive things about Binns is that he never settles. He could have been Ivan Brackenbury, hilariously hapless (and occasionally mildly sinister) hospital radio DJ for ever. But he created Ian D Montfort, spirit medium from Sunderland.
And, while Montfort is entertaining enough, wafting around in a miasma of smugness and ineptitude, Binns has woven another layer into the warp and weft of this egomaniac character – he actually does some “mindreading”. To say nothing of a very smart card trick. Stu in the front row is a sceptic. But Montfort generously offers to read his tarot cards. In a chilling message from Beyond, somehow – despite choosing his card by three different methods – Sceptical Stu chooses the Death card each time. Scary.
It is Montfort who opens the show. Followed by Binns himself, in yet another extension of the comedy playground he is building for us. He decided to learn ventriloquism. He thought it might be easy. It wasn’t. And so this central section of the show features possibly the cleverest running gag of all time. Tom’s family is with us – his father, wife, daughter and son.
They arrive in a large suitcase and I will leave Binns to tell you all about them when you see the show. Not only is the running gag a thing of comedy genius, but Binns tags it jaw-droppingly brilliantly (his own jaw never drops, of course) by singing the Confrontation duet from Les Misérables in a manner that will wipe Hugh Jackman from your mind forever.
Assembly George Square Gardens (Venue 3) until 31 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 11 August 2015
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