Note: This review is from the 2016 Fringe

Tom Gill is an actor, musician and spoken word performer. He was the 2015 UK slam champion and evidently knows how to hold a room with his words. His debut spoken word theatre show combines music and poetry and takes a comical and heartfelt look growing up in the north of England. Gill is from Salford and throughout the duration of Growing Pains he takes on the role of a variety of characters who come in and out of his life. The story follows the protagonist as he struggles with growing up, following his dreams and the bitter dissatisfaction he has with his life. He has problems at home, troubles with his girlfriend and he feels betrayed by his friends. Bored and adrift he makes the trip down to London to pursue his dreams of becoming an actor.

Tom Gill is an excellent performer. He slips seamlessly from poetry to drama and to music. Storytelling is at the heart of the show and the songs and the rhymes are all present to move the story forward and to develop the characters. Gill clearly loves word play and his poetry is filled with inventive rhymes that raise laughs and delight the audience. The songs are performed with passion and hunger and the performer puts his all into every word. By the end of the show he is dripping sweat, but never seems to be out of breath. Tom Gill is an ardent showman and clearly has excellent talents as a writer. Growing Pains is a fantastic show that presents the best of spoken word theatre in impassioned and appealing ways.

Growing Pains has been developed in association with Battersea Arts Centre. The London based arts organisation and venue is responsible for several shows at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. The quality of the performances is high and Tom Gill is an engaging performer who presents a vividly written story with bright and vibrant characters.