As Tom Walker points out during the first few minutes of his Fringe show, Very Very, there are few genres hated more than that dreaded four-letter word – mime. With this unassailable fact in mind, it seems like a bold choice to base your entire performance around that very art form. But here we are. And if anyone could convince an audience of the merits of mime, it would be Walker.
As well as the classic mimes (coats and tea cups galore, oh my), Very Very explores original ideas which are both well conceived and well executed. Particularly amusing is a recurring gag involving some sort of Disney princess(?) and her bird companions, which starts slow but has us in fits by the end.
However, the show is so effective because it isn’t just a jumble of quirky skits – Walker cleverly weaves narratives throughout the hour until we come to a finale which delivers a greater emotional impact than many serious shows out there. He elaborates on all the right jokes, and knows when to leave things brief for comic effect.
Although his presence is more than enough, the scenes where Walker chooses to share the stage with us are equally funny. There’s nothing malicious or humiliating here – just some good old fashioned, silly fun with invisible car doors and cowboys. He also isn’t afraid to bend the rules of mime a little, with some verbal asides and an accompanying audiobook of the show read by comic Rose Matafeo.
This isn’t a terribly genteel show, and one sketch in particular descends into a level of crassness which even the most juvenile amongst us would cringe at – if you’re prudish, this probably isn’t the well mannered evening show for you. But if you’re open to both miming and sketch comedy, this will be a Very, Very entertaining hour.
To crown it all off, Walker gives us all hand-drawn mini zines based around the show as we leave the venue. It’s a lovely end to a thoroughly ridiculous hour, and proves that he thinks outside of the (invisible) box in almost every dimension.