Sy Thomas: Jumper

How difficult is comedy when you’re a nice guy who’s had a nice life? What well can you draw from for your material? It’s a problem that Sy Thomas has grappled with, and one which he negotiates in his Fringe show. The outcome proves to be an entertaining if occasionally pedestrian experience.

Thomas is never too far away from a joke worth hearing.

With dysfunction eliminated as a potential theme, Thomas turns to the sorts of things which inspire the low-level angst suffered by a middle-aged, middle-class, white male... so yeah, it’s mostly about his romantic failures and regrets. These are exposed through a string of enjoyable anecdotes and a sprinkling of surreal homemade video clips.

During the act Thomas proves to be a likeable storyteller, infusing his self-deprecatory material with energy and enthusiasm. He’s strongest when the material feels less worked, such as a very funny sausage-based Good Samaritan story, and his tale of a playground toy wreaking revenge on a antisocial yoof. These sections have a natural rhythm and the jokes which accompany them are well constructed and delivered.

Elsewhere the artifice is more pronounced and although the video vignettes are entertainingly strange, a telephone-based segment feels weaker for it. Fortunately this is the exception rather than the rule and Thomas is never too far away from a joke worth hearing.

By the end of his show he has examined not only his love life but his own sense of bravery, or lack thereof, and he wraps it up with some satisfyingly muddled conclusions. Does it feel fresh and edgy? Nope. Is it challenging? Not really. It doesn’t have to be. What you get is a largely funny set delivered by a likeable comedian and effective storyteller – certainly an enjoyable way to spend an hour in the early afternoon.

Reviews by Alec Martin

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

This is it, Sy. Your first big solo show. Time to finally be brave for once in your life. Go on, jump. Do it. Jump. Jump! Oh, now you’ve gone and hurt yourself. Stop crying. ‘Brilliantly entertaining’ ***** (ThreeWeeks). Debut full-length show from Sy Thomas, ‘Highly enjoyable’ (Time Out), featuring tragic tales of whimsy, woe, and wonder. Also there will be videos. And probably tears (his). As seen on BBC One's Richard Hammond's Secret Service, Channel 4's 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, and one half of Life of Si. ‘Genuinely likeable and genuinely funny’ (List).