Tom Basden: Now That's What I Call Music-Based Comedy, Pleasance Courtyard

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The Independent Culture

There are some comedy buttons which, if pressed, can forgive a multitude of sins. Tom Basden's visual gags and short songs contain so many pearls that any rough edges almost go unnoticed.

While your eyes might be regaled with "Obamas in Pyjamas", a picture of America's first family in drawn-on nightwear projected on a screen, your ears are being given a number of treats including a song about a forbidden love between a girl and a horse (which begins "Amy and the horse are getting a divorce"), for which the girl is only forgiven because of the animal's betting tips. Yes, it's two-for-one on gags with this performer.

For his if.comedy newcomer winning show in 2007, Basden chose not to address his audience in speech, merely in pictures and song. This ploy gave the show an edgy, atmospheric feel. Now in a larger venue, Basden is talking to us, albeit in an edgy, nervy way. On balance, I preferred the former approach although you can't blame a performer for wanting to break free of this ruse.

There is a dislocation between performer and audience that some may find jarring but the material is good and the thought-processes are fresh here. Even something as apparently obvious as the Google search is delved into just that one step further and the top ten or so searches for phrases like "Why Won't?" or "Am I allowed?" throw up some terrific morsels of fun as Basden adds a little commentary to embellish his already fine work.

If that sideways look isn't enough there will be another quirky glance along any second.



To 30 Aug (0131-556 6550)

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