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Tom Deacon: Deaconator
Published on Tuesday, 21 August 2012
4

4 stars

Pleasance Dome (venue website)
Comedy
1-25 Aug, 7:00pm-8:00pm
Reviewed by Alasdair Lane

 Recommended for age 14+ only.
 Free and unticketed. No pre-booking required.

Call me old-fashioned, but the personal touch of a handshake greeting upon entering the venue is, for me, just lovely. And when the guy shaking hands happens to be the one with his name on the ticket, well, you know you're in for a treat. Deaconator, Tom Deacon's most recent Fringe outing, is a great show, with or without the charming welcome. Though it may not be bursting at the seams with stomach-achingly hilarious content, the performance is as solid a stand-up routine you'll see all month, and which I promise will have you chortling from start to finish.

I was surprised to find myself in one of the Pleasance Dome’s smaller venues - a name like Tom Deacon (I've heard him on the radio for goodness' sake!) surely merits more than this. Deacon didn't seem to mind though; in fact the modest surroundings appeared to lend themselves well to his 'regular guy' kind of humour. Indeed, from the get go (following a brief and completely puerile, though rather funny, opening video) he was in crowd making small talk- where are you from? What do you? Though hardly original, Deacon's comfort on stage and ease with the crowd, a virtue of his fairly extensive Fringe experience, did tease out a good few laughs. A steady start from an amiable guy.

In fact, this placidity defined the show as a whole. Moving on from his warm-up forays into the audience, Deacon didn't waste any time in getting to the theme of the performance - his struggle with reaching 26, and frenzied attempts to gain closure on his youth. Again, very safe stuff, though this proved to be no bad thing. As a master of deadpan comedy, it was in the little details or seemingly inane digressions where he nailed the bigger laughs. His experience getting hit by a car, as an example, was as funny as it was anticlimactic.

The centrepiece of the performance, however, took the form of Deacon's quest to complete... wait for it... a sticker book! In his laid-back melodic rasps, we were indulged in a tragic story of a boy unable to finish a sticker collection, and how, now a grown man, he would conquer his childhood hobby. It was such moronically relatable material, delivered in the style of a guy who'd lost all sense of cool that he may as well be candid about his man-child lifestyle. The jokes weren't thick and fast, but a steady and reliable trickle which got the laughs all the same.

This was such a consistently, if mildly, chuckle eliciting hour that it is hard to pin point any failings. And it is this precisely which was the let-down - a lack of drive to push the boat out and test the water away from the safe comedy we got, or to throw any real edginess into the mix at all. A few razor-sharp one liners, or perhaps a depraved anecdote, would've really raised the performance.

Deaconator is like a bowl or cornflakes, or a Volvo, or... ehm... a cup of tea! Satisfying from start to finish, and at times thoroughly enjoyable too. The laughs are consistent, and Deacon himself is a master of his own material, knowing exactly how to turn his inane ramblings into a standup routine. Go and enjoy it for what it is - a handshake and an hour of great comedy.

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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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