Totally Tom, Underbelly, Bristo Square, Edinburgh


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The Independent Culture

There is a double helping of promise in this show from Totally Tom - better known as Tom Palmer and Tom Stourton (son of broadcaster, Ed).

The two old Etonians, both 23, were nominated for the Best Newcomer award in Edinburgh last year and are already making their name on television with appearances on Live at the Electric and their own E4 pilot.

This year’s show is a long and winding string of sketches set around a prison, with a framing device involving a vengeful journalist and the Met Police. While the narrative thread is too confused, it’s hard to fault the pair’s commitment to the art of sketch.

There are no props, no costumes, no quick, easy punchlines here; each situation is thoroughly thought out and then pushed to its surreal conclusion. It’s clever, original stuff, strongly characterised and frequently deliriously funny.

Particular highlights are their Sorkin-style fast-talking New York lawyers, a topsy-turvy take on the patient/ therapist relationship and a sketch in which they imagine a scenario in which Ryan Gosling's unflappable Driver might lose his cool. Both are gifted physical performers - clowning proficiently through interpretative dance routines, bad rap and silly accents.

Catch them now: they won’t be playing tiny Portakabins like this one for much longer.

To 27 August (0844 545 8252)