Tom Price: Say When

Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Steve Bennett

As an actor, Tom Price has recently been in Torchwood, Secret Diary Of A Call Girl, My Family and is about to be in the forthcoming BBC4 drama about the Monty Python blasphemy row.

But on the strength of his debut Edinburgh show, you wonder if that’s left him quite enough time to work on his stand-up. He gets away with it – just – thanks to a gallon of likeability and a couple of entertaining stories nicely tied together, but it’s a close-run thing. And in a festival with so many options, this flyweight anecdotal hour just doesn’t have enough to stand out.

His opening gambit is to stress that he’s a posh boy. And what pretty much every posh-boy comic has been doing for the past decade is mock the urban accent they think everybody under 20 talks with, just to highlight how out-of-touch they are to that age group. ‘I can’t understand a word they say,’ sighs 31-year-old Price, like a retired colonel harrumphing about immigrants. And so, predictably, he mimics the patois for a good few minutes complete with vocal scr-scr-scr-scr-scrathing. In fact, the person he most sounds like is Tim Westwood – and he’s 53.

His class is also a hindrance when it comes to sex talk, so he tells us from the get-go – an inability to lose himself in the moment that proved quite a stumbling block when he had to fake it in his raunchy TV scene with Billy Piper. His tale of his crippling insecurities on set is one of his best and, rightly, forms the climax of the show. Another yarn, about him witnessing an attempted robbery in Chicago and winding up injured is eventful, and makes up a bit of weight in the show.

But the rest, about his upbringing in sleepy Monmouth, are too slight to capture the imagination as he tells of schoolday ‘gangs’, of his mother referring to her cerebral palsy as being ‘a bit spastic’, and of being stuck in traffic. OK, to be fair, there’s a bit more to that last one than that, and Price puts his all into trying to make it so; but he doesn’t really have the oomph to get the audience on board. It’s all just a little mild, with the occasional spice of a nice turn of phrase.

He pulls things together in the closing quarter, and gives some indication of why each of the preceding anecdotes had a place in the show. But the problem is, we didn’t feel that as he was actually telling them.

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Published: 8 Aug 2011


Past Shows

Edinburgh Fringe 2004


Edinburgh Fringe 2011

Tom Price: Say When

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

Tom Price: Not As Nice As He Looks


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