Tom Toal in Prequel (3 stars)

This article is from 2014

Tom Toal in Prequel

Touching addition to the Daniel Kitson-esque heart-on-sleeve comedy subgenre at the Edinburgh Fringe

Ever since Daniel Kitson first shambled into view over a decade ago, the comedy circuit has become increasingly full of sensitive young men combining conventional stand-up with soul-searching ruminations on the nature of existence.

But whereas Kitson is a natural clown and storyteller, many of his descendants have hijacked the form to avoid telling actual jokes. Plucking heartstrings is all very well, but at least make us laugh in the process.

Happily, Tom Toal gets the balance just about right in this sweetly personal storytelling show. Despite a faltering start, the affable comic eventually wins the crowd over with his endearing, self-deprecating charm and the cockle-warming heft of his story. To go into any more detail would rob it of its punch, but suffice to say he succeeds in his aim of sharing a life-changing miracle.

Recurring themes include Toal embarrassing himself in churches ('I died at a funeral'), his mild Catholic guilt and the blunt yet jolly humour of his father. Though the show could do with some tightening, these strands build rather neatly towards a touching denouement. Amusing and sincere, Toal's Prequel puts his stamp on this heart-on-sleeve sub-genre.

Cabaret Voltaire, 247 4704, until 23 Aug (not 11), 2.35pm, free.

Tom Toal in Prequel

  • 3 stars

Warm and quirky wit.