Tom Walker @ Assembly Roxy
A mime masterpiece from the Aussie that thinks outside the glass box
Pity Tom Walker’s grey T-shirt. Over the course of this exhilarating, unstoppably funny hour of mime, the garment becomes sodden with Walker’s sweat, so much so that patting his chest towards the end of the show causes a miniature rain shower. This level of effort, thankfully, is not for nothing, as Very Very is very, very accomplished.
The comparison is obvious but worth making: Tom Walker is the new Jim Carrey. Not only is there more than a passing resemblance – usefully long limbs, flexible eyeballs, maniacal grin – but the Aussie has the same sense of having an absolute blast when he performs, relaxing into the silliness of the show and intensifying the audience’s enjoyment.
Very Very flits between short form skits and long form, more narrative mimes, including a horrible, hilarious segment which updates the hackneyed ‘rope pull’ trick. Think John Hurt in Alien, but with the alien replaced by a stretching, penetrating phallus.
Under the excellent direction of Zoë Coombs Marr, Walker pushes the much-maligned artform into gleeful and harrowing territory, making excellent use of recurring characters and sketches to add important focal points. A dark relationship with a Uniqlo coat is memorable – not least for a fantastic final visual gag – but the most rewarding is perhaps an OAP who is cursed to accidentally kill animals, made all the more brilliant through Walker’s precise sound cues.
And yes, Walker cannot resist getting the audience involved with his boyish play. It is great testament to his confidence as a performer and the resonance of the show that his selected victims understand their role almost immediately, revelling in adding extra mimes to build the picture and cementing the show as a communal celebration of belly-laugh comedy.
Put that into mime language? It’s two thumbs up.
Tom Walker: Very Very, Assembly Roxy (Downstairs), until 25 Aug, 9.30pm, £8-11