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Tom Deacon: Indecisive - Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Corry Shaw

Some say that your Edinburgh debut is the hardest show you’ll ever do, some say it’s the easiest as you have your entire back catalogue to fall back on. Tom Deacon lives up to his show title by falling directly in the middle, presenting us with a very indecisive and average hour.

Having won the Chortle Student Comedy Award two years ago Deacon has had a rapid ascent up the comedy ladder with a bigboy management company, TV deals and support slots on nationwide tours – but is two years enough to gain the experience and expertise to pull off a full solo Edinburgh show? The answer in this case is largely no.

Despite some cracking material about his relationship with his live-in girlfriend that he has honed on the club circuit, Deacon just does not have the ability to continue this standard throughout the hour. He often using jarring, crowbarred links to force material into his show’s theme and even employs an unrelated, if funny, newspaper prop, which just adds to the feeling that he is scrabbling for just about anything to make us laugh.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, anyone would forgive a stray from the theme if the result is a belly laugh, but all-too often the quality of the material is diluted by the convoluted, and stumbling links that lead into it. Nobody cares about the five- minute preamble about what books are on the Waterstone’s bestseller list if the payoff is weak and only serves to lead us clunkily into more dependable material. Drop the link, and keep the funnies.

Deacon switches gears between gags that he is confident will work and those which he knows should not be in there. It is like watching two different performers: the nervous open spot spluttering out his words and the cool, collected Deacon we frequently see nailing 20-minute spots in clubs.

When he is on form he really shines, carefully crafted set-ups, unexpected and delightful punchlines with his confident sparkling delivery and given the time to develop he will be able to sustain this level.

There is little doubt that Deacon has the foundation to build on the skills and material he has, but it may be another year before he is ready to truly realise that potential.

Review date: 8 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Corry Shaw

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