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posted/updated: 11 Aug 2018 -
Tom Crosbie: Nerd Time's a Charm
Tom Crosbie
society/company: Edinburgh Festival Fringe (directory)
performance date: 10 Aug 2018
venue: Voodoo Rooms: Ballroom
reviewer/s: Chris Abbott (Sardines review)


Well, this is different… as I thought it would be after being intrigued by his act during a magic gala. Not that Tom Crosbie’s a magician, at least probably not although you do wonder at times… The show is presented through a nerd persona that doesn’t quite fit – anyone this quick with repartee has left true nerd-dom behind long ago.

Crosbie is a genial and engaging performer and his low-key approach is a welcome contrast to some of the out-there and loud performers on the Fringe. In many ways, this is a modern example of that great staple of variety, the memory man act – but with added Rubik’s cubes. Interspersed among the impressive feats of memory and dexterity is a mini lecture about four great geniuses: Einstein, Turing, Shakespeare and Ignaz Semmelweiss (yes, I didn’t know about him either, but I do now).

The onscreen text warmup worked well and the clock ticking down on stage nicely built up anticipation (and meant this was my first show this week to start on time). Once he began talking about his heroes he inventively used rearranged Rubik’s cubes to comment on each. His memory feat using the complete works of Shakespeare was impressive and good to see that again – and thanks for asking me to suggest the page number. And the Londoners in the audience were delighted to see an A-Z street atlas which he also appears to have memorised from cover to cover.

It’s a show where you can learn a lot, especially if like me you are a sucker for what other people call useless information. I will certainly remember the tale of the link between the King James Bible, Shakespeare and the number 46.

It’s not the show for everyone perhaps – what show is? – but this was of solid 4 star quality throughout – and after the stunning final reveal linked to an apparent earlier fail it would seem churlish to deny him the full 5…

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