Troy Hawke: Tiles Of The Unexpected! | Edinburgh Fringe review by Steve Bennett
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Troy Hawke: Tiles Of The Unexpected!

Edinburgh Fringe review by Steve Bennett

Listen up, sheeple! There’s a mind-control conspiracy right under your noses involving the CIA, Ikea and Scrabble. 

You won’t read about it in the lamestream media. The only man with the gumption to crack the story wide open is a louche, roguish matinee-idol bounder in silk smoking jacket and cravat.

As a character, Troy Hawke is great at seducing the audience with an uncanny mix of sexual tension and childlike innocence. Oh and a huge feather. ‘Adorable!’ is his favourite exclamation, trilled as he finds out each new fact about the crowd.

You probably wouldn’t peg Milo McCabe’s playful, flirtatious alter-ego as a typical hard-hitting truth-hunter – although that discrepancy between persona and story adds an extra layer.

Behind the pencil moustache, McCabe is fearless in pursuit of the ‘truth’. Crank calls to a customer service helpline is one thing, but he puts himself in the front line when he visits and Ikea or reveals the homophobia of a couple of drunk Australian bogans. Not that their prejudice was ever that well-hidden…

The convoluted web of lies gradually unravels, with Hawke becoming more eager with each apparent discovery.  

But it does require an audience to buy into the absurd conceit as the plot gets increasingly insane and labyrinthine. And with the whole story built upon nothing, his convoluted coincidences demand a suspension of disbelief beyond what most comedy characters require. Because he’s put so much into the big story, it’s all-or-nothing depending on whether you accept his premise.

Whatever the vagaries of the premise, Hawke shines in performance. He’s skilled at playing with the momentum, at using the audience’s compliance against them and at seeking damning clues in the numerology of the Scrabble scores he tots up for the names of everyone he speaks to.

He takes this stuff and nonsense very seriously, and uses his raffish charms to convince us to, as well. But often the complexity of the conspiracy theory, however witty it is, comes at the expense of good old-fashioned jokes.

Review date: 25 Aug 2019
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Underbelly Bristo Square

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