In The Bath: Unplugged
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2005
Perrier Newcomer Nominee and World Record Holder, Tim FitzHigham is back at the Edinburgh Fringe to tell his successful tale of being the first man in history to row from France to Tower Bridge, London in a Thomas Crapper Bath.
Rowing the English Channel in just a bathtub almost claimed Tim Fitzhigham’s life. Producing this show that explains the story of that mission, on the other hand, seems to have almost claimed his sanity. Indeed, he presents this interesting show with a seemingly genuine maniacal glaze, appropriate for someone who has survived such a bold, and stupid, mission.
After completing a charity attempt to cross the Thames in a boat that was 85 per cent paper, Fitzhigham last year decided io go one step better and row from Calais to Tower Bridge.
The show is more a description of the obstacles that he faced on this mission rather than any seafaring tales (which, considering that he undertook the task on his own, is unsurprising). It is an occasionally fascinating account of lying French coastguards, money laundering and the rewriting of age-old naval laws.
Fitzhigham does not, at first, seem someone eccentric enough to consider this mission a viable idea. The first impression of him is that of an excitable fop, well spoken and polite but still with a cheeky streak that can deconstruct precisely why a man crossing the Channel in a bathtub is traditional comedy inspiration.
He is also as typically English as it is possible to be; I will still be chuckling at the end of the festival when recalling his decision to stop for a game of cricket halfway through his mission.
However, as the audience become more acquainted with him, it becomes clear that there is far more to this assumed public schoolboy than is initially apparent. The flashes of anger aroused when a news reporter mispronounces his name combine with his sleepy eyes and unshaven face to produce a disturbed figure.
The story itself is so ridiculous, that we can only take Fitzhigham’s word that it is all true. It is all eloquently told and emphatically expressed, but he does not fully elucidate upon some of the more unexpected events, so muddling some of the facts in the audience’s mind, which can only make it sound unconvincing.
However, by the end, the story is engaging enough for the audience to truly want Fitzhigham to succeed. The only thing we really need worry about is his mental health.
Reviewed by: Tom Hughes