Toby Hadoke

Toby Hadoke

Stand-up, and promoter of Manchester's XS Malarkey club, for which he won the Chortle Award for best offstage contribution in 2008.

He was nominated for best compere in the 2012 Chortle Awards.

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Toby Hadoke: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Steve Bennett

After spending so much of his childhood glued to Dr Who, Toby Hadoke was  told that such a frivolous obsession would get him nowhere. How wrong they were.

In 2006 he turned his obsession into a Fringe show, Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf. It was perfectly timed for the series’ comeback, when so many secret Whovians came out of the closet (it was bigger on the inside than it on the outside, see) that he became a cheerleader for fellow fans, and invited to perform all over the world.

So no wonder he is tempted to return to the subject – and, as before, he uses the Timelord’s adventures as a parallel for other aspects of his life and relationships. You don’t have to have watched a single episode to understand the show, though it adds a couple of extra laughs if you have.

‘Doctor Who is the only thing that has ever made me truly happy,’ the affable Hadoke tells us. Which must really delight his three sons, including Ethan – his new stepson, acquired after he finally married his childhood best friend.

This show is about how he reached out to Ethan, who is deaf, through the medium of his biggest passion. Hadoke is evangelical about the programme, and literally becomes red-faced with excitement as he gushes out the plot of a single episode. His knowledge of the subject is encyclopaedic, and he’ll get genuinely animated about such heresies as the suggestion that it’s just a kids’ show, or that Paul McGann was not a valid eighth Doctor.

What annoys him more, though, are when the programme itself doesn’t live up to his expectations, and has particular distain for the Meglos episodes.

There is humour in the sheer extent of his infatuation for the subject, but he also  sprinkles the story with jokes. These are almost all of the comparative format, like ‘That’s such a bad idea, it’s like going to Boris Johnson’s barber for a haircut…’ Some of these are pretty funny, but the formula becomes repetitive, and Hadoke could do with more variety in the style.

The compelling story, though, keeps you listening. Hadoke is especially keen to foster a good relationship with Ethan as he felt abandoned by his own father, and is keen to avoid the same mistakes. It is a tale of communication, either via the sign language Hadoke is learning or the more silent understanding over a shared episode.

It’s got heart this show… heck, it’s probably got two.  Hadoke opens up with an engaging candour and comes  across as a flawed but well-intentioned chap trying to mature but not quite prepared to abandon a lifelong obsession. A lot of man-children – and those who have to live with them – can probably relate.

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Published: 26 Aug 2012

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