Tom Mayhew: This Time Next Year, We'll Be Millionaires | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
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Tom Mayhew: This Time Next Year, We'll Be Millionaires

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

When you don’t have much else, you can always have hope. That's the takeout from Tom Mayhew’s show about his and his family’s resilience living on the breadline.

It’s something his dad, described as a bit of a Del Boy-style rogue, believes in – hence the Trotter manta in the title of the show - and it’s something that the comedian suffered a dearth of when he had a crisis of confidence about stand-up, wondering if his career will ever properly take off. Nine years in, he still struggles to make a living wage. 

Even his usually supportive - if slightly peculiar – mum dared to venture he might want to change his dreams, with the defeatist statement that comedy is ‘not a career for people like us’, skint working-class people. 

That Mayhew is back in Edinburgh indicates that he’s regained his mojo (and got £2,000 of support from the Keep It Fringe fund spearheaded by Phoebe Waller-Bridge . Even so, the long-term viability of his career is precarious. 

You might cynically think  this is an hour-long bucket speech designed to elicit generous post-show donations, but in fact the modest Mayhew is so grateful for the bursary that he downplays contribution audience members should make.

In a similarly low-key style, Mayhew paints an affectionate portrait of his family life, from his father’s obsession with garish boxer shorts to his mother’s belief in haunted ornaments. As for himself, he explains why he has a special drive to make something of his life, and never wants to go back to retail.

He’s also open about his financial situation, which he says he finds it easier to talk about now as more people fall into poverty’s grip. He fears invitations to baby showers and the gifts they demand, and argues that no therapy for his funk would be more effective than having the money it costs in his pocket.

This is all told in the spirit of gentle, amiable conversation, but is often charming without being hilarious, without a strong sense of purpose.

He has a gimmick, but it’s an albatross around his neck. Taking that Del Boy idea, he produces a battered suitcase from which he pretends to flog all manner of cheap tat. It proves a smidgeon of contrast to the true anecdotes, but the jokes here are flimsy prop gags, unrelated to the rest of the story. And tonight, they confused one punter who put in a genuine bid for the first item. 

At least pulling out items that meant something to him would have had a narrative place and made the show a bit more cushtie.

Review date: 19 Aug 2023
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

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