Tom Crosbie: Nerd World Problems | Edinburgh Fringe review by Alex Bruce
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Tom Crosbie: Nerd World Problems

Edinburgh Fringe review by Alex Bruce

Tom Crosbie presents an hour that's all about misdirection – and packed full of it. Not only in the skills, facts and tricks on display, but also in the show’s constant vein of family-friendly humour. His Derren-Brown-meets-stand-up style patter makes for an impressive, entertaining act that elicits genuinely big laughs to match the amazement.

Crosbie shows off Rubik’s Cube tricks, feats of memory, and word predictions in a relentless set that includes audience participation, the complete works of Shakespeare, and Scrabble. However, the entertainment never abates over the hour, even for the non-nerds present.

Undoubtedly this audience is 70 per cent Crosbie’s target audience. That is to say, people like himself: modern, pedantic, in-joking nerds with fantastic memories, who find humour, wordplay and interest in almost everything. But this show has broader appeal than that, especially for those seeking something a little different to the majority of what’s on offer in Edinburgh.

Within five minutes, Crosbie deftly conveys the depth of his nerdiness, sets up recurring joke opportunities and demonstrates some incredible skills. He also introduces a theme. 

The show is – at least in part – about Alan Turing, the World War Two, Bletchley Park code-cracker who, Crosbie informs us, saved humanity two additional years of war with his enigmatic brilliance. Turing was also recently announced as the new face of the £50 note following a royal pardon for his chemical castration for ‘crimes’ of homosexuality shortly after the war. Turing committed suicide in 1954. He is one of Crosbie’s heroes, and the comedian dedicates this show to him with an ending that must be seen.

Crosbie’s patter accompanies feats and tricks far beyond a straightforward  ‘magic show’, and while he may not quite have the psychological and emotional payoffs that Derren Brown can boast just yet, he undoubtedly has similar ability.

This show intends to demonstrate the ‘pointless skills' Crosbie has developed. But they might not be so pointless after all, given the rapturous reception he gets in a packed room on a Wednesday early afternoon.

Review date: 16 Aug 2019
Reviewed by: Alex Bruce
Reviewed at: Gilded Balloon Teviot

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