'In this way I shall preserve many things that would otherwise be lost in oblivion. I shall find daily employment for myself, which will save me from indolence and help to keep off the spleen, and I shall lay up a store of entertainment for my after life.'

For James Boswell posts please follow the labels on the right.

This blog mainly contains reviews from the Edinburgh Festivals from 2008 to 2010 which I wrote for the Edinburgh Festivals Magazine. These reviews cover everything from comedy to contemporary dance; children's theatre to Handel.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Tom Basden: Now that’s what I call a musical based comedy! Review

Tom Basden: Now that’s what I call a musical based comedy!

Tom Basden is a good example of the direction in which comedy and (what the hell) Western Civilization is heading. Gone are the days when a singular Shakespearean soliloquy could hold a house of Tudors enthralled line after line, and have them musing over the layered qualities as they stumbled off to ye locale inn.

Now, living in the buzzing naughties where jingles, video clips and Power Point are the limit of our goldfish like attention spans, Tom Basden makes an appearance. Cometh the hour, cometh the comedian. Or something.

Employing a mixture of clipped jokes, guitar and banjo numbers, Basden provides us with a serving of frothy light entertainment to go. The wonders of Photoshop (imagine the Obamas in pyjamas) make an appearance, as does the modern obsession with playing with Google word search.   

This is the third show I have seen in a week which dedicates significant time to Google search. The show is also one of an increasing number which needs a power point display to elicit laughter from a crowd. This is either very ‘now’ or just lazy.

Nonetheless, Basden can often nail a gag and has a nonchalant and dead pan approach to his humour which goes down well. Occasionally these jokes dribble out like wet farts, however, producing silent winces or coughs instead. These literally require a Power Point prompt.

The throw away gags, addiction to technology and bullet point jokes leave Basden with a show lacking in any central focus. While such an absence of direction is not necessarily a bad thing – just look at Dylan Moran – it takes a very accomplished comedian to continue with the energy required to hold the audience’s attention.

If our attention spans continue to wane then Basden may continue to make appearances. Until then however, and having got bored writing this, I’m off to search for animals doing funny things on Youtube.

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