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Camden Fringe: A Big Kid on a Couch, The Forge

Part of the Camden Fringe 2013

Tom Harding
Pros: An interesting idea which would appeal to film-lovers.
Cons: The play lacked structure and jumped between being a stand-up comedy and being a play. 
Our Verdict: Some more work needs to be done to give this play a structure and an identity. 
Courtesy of the Camden Fringe
At some time in our lives, we have probably all related something we have seen or experienced, to something we have watched on the big screen. Who has not imagined being a cowboy or Luke Skywalker? Tom Harding, in his one man show at the Camden Fringe Festival, finds himself looking at the world through the eyes of a film-lover. He relates every experience in life to film. He is essentially a big kid!
The show is just under an hour and follows Tom through childhood experiences with friends, through to adulthood and his new girlfriend. The play is just under an hour and is full of jokes, anecdotes and stories. Tom is aided by a stage scattered with cheap film props such as wigs, toy soldiers and plastic guns. There is also the use of easily recognisable film soundtracks, just in case we struggled to recognise Tom acting out a scene from Titanic or Gladiator. The use of film scores was clever and did engage the audience, but the volume was far too loud at times. You did struggle to hear the dialogue.
The problem with the play is that it lacks identity. What is the play supposed to be? A stand-up comedy show? A play? A man speaking to his friends and family in the audience, exchanging private jokes? It seems to me that if you knew Tom personally, you would have appreciated the play more. To have wider appeal and to encourage members of the public to pay and come and see the play, the performance has to be directed at, and understood, by all. Something perhaps to think about for future performances.
The message of the show was also unclear. It would have been interesting to know why Tom was so obsessed with film? Why he carried the obsession on from childhood to adulthood? I think this message was lost somewhere along the way, just like Jack Dawson was, in Titanic
Seen the show yourself? Agree or disagree? Submit your own review with our Camden Fringe Big Audience Project. 

A Big Kid on a Couch has finished its run at The Forge. For more information visit: http://tomhardingperformanceartist.weebly.com/

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