There’s lots to like about young Cumbrian Tom Little, who won the Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year in 2015 and is on his fourth full run at the Fringe here. The twitchy energy of his delivery, the most immediate characteristic he has, is endearing rather than grating. And though at one point he makes a play of his lack of relatability, this is actually very accessible humour which serves him well. The vibe he projects, not meaning to damn the man, is a manic Stan Boardman – purely in presentation, clearly not in 1970s material.
He puts his million mile an hour delivery to good use on a routine about the longest words in the English language, repeatedly skipping through floccinaucinihilipilification and Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllantysiliogogogoch for laughs. Mainly, this speedy style makes a good comedy tool, but occasionally the facade cracks and the franticness seems nervy rather than channelled.
He’s also got another curious, but effective comedy strategy – the false ending. Several early anecdotes end on what seems like a rather damp squib, only for something better to emerge round the corner.
There’s sparkiness about the material. The topics are sometimes standard, but the takes are enlivened by his left-field charisma. A routine about the mate that always one-ups you is well done, and even the “living at home with the parents” segment feels fresher than most.
He checks his watch a lot which, coupled with the speed of delivery, gives the impression we’re being short-changed time-wise. But a check of the phone shows we’ve had at least 45 of the billed 50 minutes. It’s not a show that’s been a drag to get through, that’s for sure. He needs a more cohesive batch of material to take it up a level from here, but this is not a man who should be playing to half a dozen free punters in a requistioned industrial building down an alleyway.