Saturday, August 13, 2011

Edinburgh Fringe 2011: Tom Bell Forever

The small Leicestershire village of Kegworth may not seem like the natural breeding ground of comic book heroes, but in this funny, lo-fi show at the Tron, we discover that it was indeed the birthplace of one such Dark Knight: Tom Bell, the indier half of ace sketch double act Tommy and the Weeks, who here offers us a "gritty" retelling of his life. Think Christian Bale, not Adam West.
Well, maybe. In reality, Bell is an endearing, upbeat sort of comic, and the Hollywood reboot simply a nice peg on which to hang true stories from his life, via the odd (in both senses) character and even a song or two.

There's a 'one that got away' theme running through the show, too. Whether he's taking on his Batman persona and discussing a childhood sweetheart (who's supposed to be being played by Jennifer Aniston if she'd ever turn up) or performing in the guise of a misogynistic Aussie comic, the heartbreak of having loved-and-lost is never far away...

And between the backstory and character skits - look out for a serious message about the dangers of over-fishing delivered direct from Neptune himself - we get little glimpses into the world of Love It! magazine. This is a rag which features such exclamation-marked coverlines as "Raped by an evil clown!", and with which Bell has become somewhat obsessed.

The magazine could, you suspect, provide a whole hour's worth of material in itself, such is the absurd delight it apparently takes in horrific tales of unusual illness and domestic abuse, but Bell doesn't lean too heavily on it and neither does he need to. He has a great, off-beat turn of phrase and this show may be on the shambolic side, but it's also endlessly inventive, with a really sweet ending.

1 comment:

uhhuh said...
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