Tom Binns Has Not Been Himself | Review by Steve Bennett
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Tom Binns Has Not Been Himself

Note: This review is from 2014

Review by Steve Bennett

This is Tom Binns unmasked; the man behind inept hospital radio DJ Ivan Brackenbury and comedy psychic Ian D Montfort performing as himself for the first time.

The idea is that he wants to talk about the voice of mischief in his head that overrides all manners and common sense to say the most inappropriate thing at the most inappropriate time. Given the nature of comedians, he’s by no means the first to have used this premise for a show, but he has at least done the reading, referring to psychologist Steve Peters’s self-help book The Chimp Paradox to explain the devil inside.

It’s cost him more than 20 jobs and one arrest, and sometimes the transgressions have been high-profile given his job as a radio DJ. He’s hosted a phone-in so graphic it landed his employers with a record-breaking fine and committed treason, live on air, on Christmas Day.

These are covered, but the bulk of the hugely entertaining show is about the people who surround him; his ‘space cadet’ wife Liesl; his forever-bickering parents and his wind-up merchant mate. If you believe every single one of these tales is true, you’ll probably believe that his alter-ego can commune with the dead, too, so conveniently do the anecdotes follow the pattern and rhythm of gags you might already have heard.

Not that it matters a huge amount – other than the irony of a modern comic using more old-fashioned type jokes this festival than Jim Davidson, even if they are mixed in with real-life yarns. Every mini-story is certainly punchy and funny, and Binns brings them to life with a great sense of timing, and well-realised mini-characterisations.

His better-known creations make an appearance,too, and are probably still the highlights of the show; D Montfort with his withering backhanded compliments showing a masterful double use of language, and Brackenbury closing the show with his usual mix of inappropriate songs for patients with very particular complains. He brought the house down with one particular jingle, with its unfortunate phrasing.

So perhaps he is not yet ready to leave the characters behind yet (and the wonderful Montfort has a full show elsewhere on the Fringe) – even if we probably still haven’t heard from the ‘real’ Tom Binns.

Review date: 12 Aug 2014
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Pleasance Courtyard

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