Tom Short and Will Hutchby: Only Child Syndrome

At the meagre price of four pounds per ticket, and at one of the smallest venues in town, you get what you expect from Tom Short and Will Hutchby’s Only Child Syndrome: self-conscious and mildly funny comedy.

Although the self-conscious awkwardness was part of their charm, they could do with some more confidence and some more solid material.

Less expected is the fact that neither Tom nor Will’s set (they do half an hour each) has all that much to do with being only children. Except for the fact that they are both only children, and only children are supposedly show-offs, there’s not much more said about this supposedly ordering concept. It’s in fact pretty lucky that this is the case as the lonely children gags and lists of famous only children are among the weakest of the material.

Will goes first and his material ranges from ‘alfresco shitting’ (pretty funny), to a Dizzee Rascal style sketch between Jesus and Judas (pretty bad), to a story about queuing for ten hours for a Star Wars audition only to be turned away at the door by a fake-tanned Geordie (pretty funny again). He adopts a familiarly obvious ‘stand up’ style, and leaves pauses too long for too titling a laugh. That said, he is bona fide funny in parts and the audience never really felt awkward, for ourselves or for him.

Tom has a more natural self-effacing style. The audience perceptibly warmed as he leapt on stage and started jiggling arrhythmically to Get Low by Lil John. It was partly the loud music that made us relax, but also the genuinely funny physical comedy. His continued to be the easier laughs as he ranged around from discussing pigeons, to miming dancing in a club, to funny skits about modern pop songs.

The 11-person strong audience were kind and gentle with the (extremely likable) guys, but I worry about how they’d fare with a bolshier crowd. They were both too sweet not to laugh with, even if many of the jokes were more worthy of a smile slash chuckle than an authentic guffaw. Although the self-conscious awkwardness was part of their charm, they could do with some more confidence and some more solid material.

Reviews by Sarah Coombes

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Performances

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The Blurb

Tom and Will are only children. Two boys, two lives, but one thing in common, the trials and tribulations of being a boy and growing up in a matriarchal household. This is life seen through the eyes of a socially awkward dyslexic and an accidental toff. Tom’s style incorporates surreal ramblings with a dry wit and logic that is unique with every performance. Will’s eloquent analytical description of his misdoings gives him a hopeless yet lovable roguish nature that stems from loneliness and imaginary friends.

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