Tom Ward: Sex, Snails and Cassette Tapes (4 stars)

Quietly assured debut about a lack of love with oddball deviations from this Smiths-loving comic

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Tom Ward: Sex, Snails and Cassette Tapes

credit: Steve Ullathorne

Tom Ward's first Fringe show centres on a common enough theme: love or rather his lack of it. Nothing new there it would seem but Ward has a habit of wandering off in unexpected yet inspired whimsy and you can never be too sure what's coming next. Plus, so mellow is his approach that it ambushes you, with laughter arising from the spontaneity almost as much as the gag.

The signs of his unconventional approach were there from the beginning of the show: there's no grand entrance, instead he bobs around casually, occasionally riffing with the crowd and letting the Smiths' 'Bigmouth Strikes Again' finish playing before he switches it off just as Morrissey swoons: 'would be angry if he didn't.' It's an indication of what's to come.

There are so many subtle diversions into oddball territory here: he's a keen impersonator of humans (he does a mean Jools Holland) as well as inanimate kitchen appliances. And you'll never listen to Cher in the same way after Ward's done with her. There's even an appearance from his God-fearin' and Cliff Richard-lovin' (or should that be the other way around?) mum Rachel. Sex, Snails and Cassette Tapes is a quietly assured debut whose run will surely end with posters full of stars and a nomination.

Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug (not 15), 9.45pm, £8–£9.50 (£7–£8.50).

Tom Ward: Sex, Snails and Cassette Tapes

  • 4 stars

CKP in association with The Pleasance BBC Radio New Comedy Award finalist Tom arrives with his debut show! A man celebrating life for all its sexy little touches, spinning tales of his favourite unsung heroes (cheap kettles, Tupperware, friendly perverts) into an exhilarating narrative of voices and sounds. Always…

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