Tom Walker @ Assembly George Square
It doesn’t really matter if you’re not terribly convinced about Tom Walker’s undying love for javelin – his gently absurd style of storytelling is what gets him the gold
Tom Walker is letting us into his world and sharing his passionate love for javelin, and for Jan Železný, Czech javelinist extraordinaire and world record holder. It’s a neat, ostensible vehicle that allows Walker to indulge in his brilliant physical comedy. It doesn’t really matter if you’re not terribly convinced about Walker’s undying love for javelin – his gently absurd style of storytelling is what gets him the gold.
Walker would probably like you to think that the show is technologically stripped-back, but it’s all very slick. Having an audience blink as a form of blackout is an ingenious opportunity for him to be in many places at once. As audience members reopen their eyes for a final time, Walker’s appearance on another side of the stage having been transformed into a javelin player within moments has the room cackling with glee. And over the course of the hour, the story of his failed javelin career begins to unfold.
Sandwiched between these moments of the real ‘narrative’ of the show are some gloriously silly mime skits. One stands out in particular, with Walker playing the part of a well-meaning bull in a china shop. It makes several reappearances over the course of the show and, with the help of Walker’s doleful facial expressions, you somehow feel a sense of camaraderie with the bull. Other skits come in bursts and break up the narrative nicely, from claustrophobic mimes to smelly hands. It all leads to a smoothly paced hour that never feels laboured.
Physical comedy is always best when it can make you forget yourself and the world around you for a little while – Walker does just that in Javelin, and the results are often a total joy to watch.
Tom Walker: Javelin, Assembly George Square (The Box), until 28 Aug (not 17), 9.05pm, £11-14