Toby Brown

Toby Brown

Toby Brown is a Bath-born, London-based comedian, who has been perfmeing stand-up since 2007. He was a finalist in the Amused Moose Laugh Off 2012 and in the Bath New Act of the Year 2010.
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Toby Brown: Screaming Julie

Note: This review is from 2013

Review by Steve Bennett

Judging by this solo show, Toby Brown has a few strings to his comic bow. He can indulge in compere-like banter to turn even a smallish gathering into a gig; can take the audience on a quirkily romantic Kitson-like adventure; and he has more traditional material about his own relationships.

The story that kickstarts Screaming Julie, following the room-settling badinage, is the most engaging part. Seeing an alcohol yelling up at a bleak tower block in London for his lost love, Brown details the heartbreaking sequence of events that led him there.

It’s a fiction, but a touching and thoroughly engrossing one, setting the scene for an analysis of his own love life as he questions how he avoided making the same choices as that unfortunate fellow. This we go from the very first inklings of romance from his West Country childhood, to toe-curling confessions of bad sex, to the pain of relationship that he thought was The One – but wasn’t.

The stories are evocatively descriptive and Brown is an engaging presence, with an authority over his material and a no-nonsense charm. On the debit side, the yarns aren’t particularly well linked, despite the supposedly themed show, and we don’t really get to know Brown beyond the superficially self-deprecating. But while the anecdotes not always insightful – or, to be honest, always quite funny enough – the show is forever interesting.

Although not officially billed as such, this was a work-in-progress towards a planned Edinburgh run that now will not happen, which now gives him well over a year to knock the promising elements into shape, should he make his debut in 2014. That should be plenty, since he already has natural stagecraft and decent storytelling skills to his name.

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Published: 17 May 2013

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