Tom Ward: Popcorn Lung (3 stars)

Tom Ward: Popcorn Lung

credit: Steve Ullathorne

When self-deprecation becomes self-sabotage

Tom Ward's third Edinburgh Fringe show is bookended by appearances from his breathy mum Rachel, while there's a quick-sharp costume change with Ward, resplendent in a gold velour top, arriving to reassure us that his hair is not a wig. Popcorn Lung is a mix of observational comedy and personal stories, with some excellent deadpan gags about inappropriate song lyrics, arriving early for dates, and how to watch without looking at sex parties.

There is the sense early on that we're not the audience Ward wants; he's irritated when we're not emphatic enough in our replies about where we like to nap. It's uncertain if that's part of the act, but either way it creates a slightly uncomfortable atmosphere. Appointing an audience member to lead the replies and asides about what not to do in a gig bring it some way back.

Despite some insightful material, Ward's self-deprecation wanders into self-sabotage: tell an audience that they're uncertain and they will be; mention that a critic referenced your sweeping statements about the opposite sex and we'll notice their presence in this set. And Ward ends on a despondent note with some call-backs to earlier jokes on the subject of last year's three-star reviews.

Just the Tonic at The Mash House, until 26 Aug, 7.30pm, £7 in advance or donations at the venue.

Tom Ward: Popcorn Lung

  • 3 stars

CKP and InterTalent Group Present On the back of last year's critically acclaimed Love Machine and an appearance on Live from the BBC (BBC Worldwide), Tom Ward is going in for a closer inspection of his favourite themes: love, freedom and aloneness. Join the hip-haired one as he takes a look at the burgeoning "cutesy…

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