Tom Crosbie: Nerd's Eye View | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
review star review star review star review star review blank star

Tom Crosbie: Nerd's Eye View

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

What Tom Crosbie has are a very particular set of skills. Skills he has acquired over a very long career. Skills that make him a nightmare… well, possibly to live with.

They are phenomenal feats of memory – and an unrivalled ability to manipulate a Rubik’s Cube. He acknowledges that his talents are ‘completely useless’ for most day-to-day purposes. Except, crucially, to create a show that’s unlike any other. The marketing is straightforward: if you like geeky stuff, you’ll love this family-friendly hour. If you don’t, stroll on.

His nerd credentials are apparent from the 8-bit version of himself in the video game that the audience can play as the seats fill up – and from a set littered with the icons of the subculture: a 20-sided die, a book about Alan Turing, board games, a molecular model and Rubik’s Cubes. Lots of Rubik’s Cubes. Even so, for one stunt he asks if anyone in the room has brought their own. Of course, one is produced, speaking volumes about the like-minded audience he attracts.

Half the show is dedicated to hugely impressive feats of memory, such as recalling pi to a ridiculous number of places. He’s not just able to reel off the digits starting at a random point, he’s able to know where a given sequence lies. Likewise, you may have seen Nick Mohammed’s Mr Swallow memorise a whole pack of cards on Cats Do Countdown – Crosbie can do that, and with a twist. We should probably burn him as a witch.

For all his supernatural abilities, Crosbie is charming, self-effacing and generous, constantly telling the audience how great they are. The comedy element is a bit one-note, commenting how people are usually impressed by a certain feat as a prompt for us to ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ accordingly. But no one’s here for the comedy, it’s all about that geeky spectacle.

What he does with Rubik’s Cubes is truly remarkable, not just solving them in the blink of an eye but myriad other tricks too, including making them into a work of art that involves thinking on several planes at once – all while entertaining an audience. For Crosbie, 4D chess would be as easy as noughts and crosses for the rest of us. These are awesome feats, modestly presented.

Review date: 30 Aug 2022
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Gilded Balloon Teviot

Live comedy picks

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.