Tom Greaves: Fudgey | Brighton Fringe comedy review
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Tom Greaves: Fudgey

Brighton Fringe comedy review

Fudgey is a fine, and somewhat sympathetic, character study of the privileged upper-middle-class ruling classes. Sympathetic because Gaulier-trained comedy performer Tom Greaves has drawn on his own life to create this grotesque alter-ego: a crass, posh, casual misogynist doing something unspecified in finance, who fist-bumps every bloke with a laddish ‘shagger’ in place of proper social skills.Think Bob Mortimer’s Train Guy, but with added toxic masculinity.

This superficial yet super-confident, persona was forged in a boarding school – where else? But these factories of the elite come at a cost, which is what Greaves explores here.

We first meet Tom Fudge aged seven, already a ‘special boy’, a little isolated but living in a joyful world of adventure in his head… a fantasy world that will come crashing down when despatched to a top-flight private school. He was told ‘it was for the best, but it felt quite bad,’ he eloquently confesses. 

He clearly feels detached from his emotionally cold parents – who Greaves also depicts – but the trauma is a generational thing. We learn that Tom’s dad was a victim of detached parenting, too, courtesy of a war veteran father who bottled up all emotion. The motives of Fudgey’s father are interrogated in a parody A Few Good Men – albeit with the aid of a toad sock puppet – to suggest necessary evils were inflicted for Tom’s greater good.

It’s one of a series of often disturbing vignettes that make up the hour, building an image of a damaged child becoming a damaged adult. Greaves delivers a tour-de-force performance, quickly switching between the various characters and occasionally drawing the audience into the narrative in a vey literal way.

The show is more theatrical than out-and-out comedic, though always shot through with a dark humour, although its episodic, sketch-like nature is a little uneven. It means the hour can feel bitty, with the underlying message becoming repetitive as it is constantly reinforced.

But it’s an impressive calling card for Greaves’ performance talents as well as being a thoughtful and inventive take on the sort of broken personalities unlikely to loosen their grip on the top echelons of society anytime soon.

Tom Greaves: Fudgey will be on at Assembly Roxy during the Edinburgh Fringe

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Review date: 3 Jun 2024
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Brighton Fool's Paradise

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