With an upbringing that could safely be described as quirky, allied to naturally funny bones, Tom Ward’s idiosyncratic Fringe debut is full of promise.
Star rating: ***
Venue: Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33)
Sporting what he calls a “Lego Richard III” haircut, he’s matter-of-fact about his attractions to women and astute on gender relations, combining wry social commentary with anecdotes about his strict Christian parents and introduction to the welcoming world of gay clubbing at 16.
There are constant, enjoyable tangents into leftfield observations on subjects such as kitchen appliances and Tupperware.
There’s a fine impersonation of Jools Holland, elevated by the winning scenario Ward evokes for him; an extended impression of his mother that’s endearing, enlightening and unsettling; while his recreation of Cher’s Believe has to be heard to be um, believed.
Music is prominent throughout, affording a dash of nostalgic warmth to his whimsy. And usually perhaps for such an off-kilter act, there’s a significant amount of frontfoot charisma too, as he tickles the crowd with intrusive but good-natured inquiries about them.
Ranging so widely and capriciously, no real themes are sustained, so while Ward’s pleasant company, a little more focus would probably benefit this show enormously. Still, you intuit that there’s plenty more to come from him too.
Until 28 August. Tomorrow 9:45pm.