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Tom Wrigglesworth: Utterly at Odds with the Universe

Note: This review is from 2013

Review by NIone Meakin

Sentimental without being cloying, poetic yet free of pretension, Tom Wrigglesworth’s love letter to his granddad is a gorgeous testament to small-scale heroism that moves as much as it tickles.

Previous shows have demonstrated the Yorkshire comic’s ability to tell a story, which is put to great use here as he brings to life a ‘black belt of DIY’ who failed to teach his 11-year-old grandson to drive but passed on his belief in the importance of ‘personal bests’.

  It’s a simple tale of familial bonds but Wrigglesworth elevates the subject matter through his warmth and words. He has a real knack for description, whether talking about a pundit delivering football commentary ‘with the urgency of Nick Griffin hailing a cab from the MOBO awards’ or imagining the fonts various people’s speech should appear in (in case you’re wondering, Christine Hamilton is Comic Sans).

He appears to stray from the narrative here and there with sections about paid appearances at gala dinners and being thrown out of a Dubai hotel but these apparent asides are then woven back in – not so much callbacks as threads in the tapestry.

The reappearance of an earlier observation about the difference between ‘cheerio’ and ‘goodbye’ packs a particular punch, one of a handful of moments in the show that’s reminiscent of Daniel Kitson. This isn’t always as good a thing as it might sound, as those are serious heights to match and the echoes only highlight that he’s not quite there yet. But note the ‘yet’.

Punctuated by a satisfyingly theatrical finish, this show reaffirms the power and beauty of love and serves as a timely reminder that wherever you go in life, you should always carry a tool kit.

Review date: 17 Aug 2013
Reviewed by: NIone Meakin

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