Tony Burgess: Crimbo (3 stars)

Tony Burgess: Crimbo

Festive-time nostalgia acts as the backdrop to a candid story

Tony Burgess eschews the mic and sits on the edge of his stage for what he explains is going to be one long story. Set during Christmas 2003, he introduces the various members of his family, their comic mishaps and some early-2000s references. This leads to reminiscences about earlier Christmases with his family and the Mancunian nostalgia gathers pace. Burgess checks whether anyone in the audience is unlikely to understand his references to the Hacienda, Blackpool Illuminations and the Bisto Kids, with his attempts to explain them only leading to more confusion among the uninitiated while those in the know get to feel smug.

The real subjects of his story – mental health and adopting his autistic nephew – begin to emerge as he jumps backwards and forwards in the timeline, though at times it's difficult to follow which year we're in. Burgess' candour and geniality make him an excellent host, taking the crowd along into some difficult territory. Without giving anything away, the story ends up in a very different place from where you'd expect and, for some, may violate the unwritten rules of a Fringe comedy show leaving you on a high note.

Sneaky Pete's, until 26 Aug (not 21), 6.15pm, free.

Tony Burgess – Crimbo

  • 3 stars

Tony Burgess / PBH's Free Fringe What a proper mad one. Christmas, 2003: Tragic? Messy? Yep. And then Tony had to adopt his 10-year-old autistic nephew, without knowing much himself about real life. ‘Extracts the comic from difficult situations…’ (Guardian). ‘Well crafted jokes’ (Times). Probably best known for playing…

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