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Luke Toulson - Luke Who's Talking
Published on Saturday, 18 August 2012
2

2 stars

Underbelly, Cowgate (venue website)
Comedy
2-26 Aug, 9:05pm-10:05pm
Reviewed by Martin Lennon

 Recommended for age 14+ only.

Former Perrier nominee Luke Toulson has described himself as a bad boyfriend and a bad father, and has taken the time to share this story with us. His show Luke Who's Talking (the pun says something about his age) sees Toulson maturing into fatherhood, and adapting to a life of not being a big kid any more.

His role as a father is the main theme of the show, and many stories revolve around his seven-year old daughter and ten-year old son. His adventures with his kids range from travels on the London red buses to extreme games of hide and seek. But such is the changing nature of his life that he also speaks on love and his relationship with his girlfriend of two years. Throw in a catchy song and an awkward attempt at crowd participation, and you have the bulk of the show.

For me, Toulson is developing a new brand of stand up which I would call 'daddy comedy'. Be it her intimidating gangster hoodies or running a very strict game of "shop", he is able to base a lot his routine on his seven-year old. However, these stories did at times seem a bit lost to a crowd who were mainly in their twenties. Dedicating a large part of the show to the topic of fatherhood can be risky business: most fathers would find the antics of their own kids amusing, but it's not easily transferable to a comedy show based around them.

One strange trait of Toulson's was his tendency to abruptly finish a story part-way through. In one case he mentioned a friend who passed away, and how it made him a better person. But these were the only details he gave, and he left you hanging. At another point he talked about being a teetotaller, but he didn't elaborate on it. These are clearly details of a very personal nature, but as he chose to mention them, I expected him to say a bit more about it.

This was also aligned with an apparent concentration problem. He seemed more interested in what was going on with members of the crowd than in telling his jokes, often interrupting his own routine to engage with the audience. Although friendly, his interactions were also awkward, and just seemed to embody a lack of consistency on his part. This was especially so when he was having a conversation with a middle-aged couple who were very cagey about giving out information about themselves.

However, at times you could see he is a natural storyteller. His observations, especially on the issues couples face, are well-done. Toulson has the ability to find a novel take on a situation, asking for example what would happen to middle-class people if they started appearing on the Jeremy Kyle show. Also worthy of a mention is the one song he performs, which was written for his girlfriend; it’s very catchy and inventive, and easily one of the highlights of the show.

At the start of the gig, Toulson spoke about how he has been confused with famous goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar. Unlike the Dutchman, he didn't quite have the power to save this show. However, it is clear why he has been a success in the past, and how he could be in the future – if he gets a mix of the right material, and chooses a style which suits him and the audience best.

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FROM OUR ARCHIVES

These are archived reviews of shows from Edinburgh 2012.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

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