Tom Rosenthal: Child of Privilege
A very funny and innovative debut about privilege
This article is from 2011.
At around the halfway point in Tom Rosenthal’s debut show, he applies the brake and settles into a gorgeous little homage to one of his comedy idols, Stewart Lee. Around him, some of the crowd are not entirely sure what’s going on as he seems trapped in a maddening vortex where over and over again, he mimics a slow-motion dart-thrower, quietly providing commentary to his action. On the PowerPoint backdrop, an explanation is offered to the bamboozled among his audience and soon we move back to the swift-paced material about what it means to come from privilege.
In Tom Rosenthal’s case, this was as the son of a famous British sports presenter, Jim Rosenthal. In a quite bizarre fluke of Pleasance scheduling, the act immediately prior to this one is Welsh comic Elis James who dedicates around one-third of his own show to talking about the discomfort he felt in meeting one of his childhood heroes; yep, you guessed it, Jim Rosenthal.
There’s no doubt who has the more substantial raw material of course, and Rosenthal Jnr is able to tear into his dad for his hyperbolic summarising style and for stubbornly pursuing a claim against Heston Blumenthal in the wake of the Fat Duck norovirus furore (the battle of the ‘Enthals’, as Tom dubs it). But most courageously of all, he plunges headlong into the race row when Rosenthal Snr ill-advisedly used the phrase ‘spear-chucker’ about Tessa Sanderson, the black British javelin thrower.
Rosenthal has certainly come to Edinburgh determined to make a splash, filling his Attic space with a plethora of props and people, including a homeless guy and his ‘butler’ Leonard, here to help out with housekeeping and throw in some inane Facebook status updates from one of Rosenthal’s mortal enemies. A bravura and very funny debut show which should make dad feel very proud once the cringing has subsided.
Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 29 Aug, 9.30pm, £9.50-£12 (£8-£10.50).