Luke Toulson is very ambivalent about his children. Though being a father has meant that he had to go to their school production of a vaguely racist version of Miss Saigon and has to share his glory with his kids’ non-achievements, he realises that, on the plus side, parenthood gives you the moral high ground in every argument. Surprisingly this charming if mundane premise for a show actually turns out to be the starting point for the best thing I have seen in the Free Fringe this year.
Toulson is hilarious from beginning to end. A bumpy start with a dodgy microphone was saved with such grace and exceptional timing that I can’t help but think the whole thing had been planned. After this the laughs came so thick and fast that the audience was struggling to catch their breath in between. One particular comparison of old love letters, the first from a gushing, loving girl and the second from a girl who seemed to think that indifference was the last word in romance, was spectacular. Everything about this routine was incredible, from the spot on adolescent wording to the coquettish, off-hand delivery.
Even when the set took on more ostensibly serious material the laughter was still forthcoming. Toulson fears that old age will slowly see him turn into a card-carrying UKIP voter. But before that happens he swears to throw every comic trick he can at Nigel Farage and his ‘racist Nazi scum’ cohorts. However, because UKIP are a fairly easy target (particularly in Scotland), Toulson clearly did not find it necessary to do even the most basic of research to find material for ridicule. This meant the routine quickly descended into childish name calling, comparing Farage with any number of synonyms for male genitalia.
However, when on the more comfortable topic of his children Toulson is on fire. While again this is not exactly a brave new world for stand-up comedy he does manage to squeeze something new out of it. A rare bit of audience interaction with the only teenagers in the room saw Toulson informing the audience that statistically it is the parents who are the most likely to be the culprits in child murder cases. Doesn’t sound funny, but the ensuing atmosphere induced many a dark giggle.
Incredible technique and timing, Toulson is a treat.