An off-beat, eccentric one-man show, Tom Walker: Beep Boop is well worth a watch this Fringe. With just a flicker of his facial expression he has the audience in stitches from the very start (even heavily obscured behind a bushy beard!). His disjointed patterns of speech are just one way he deconstructs the world around us and his skilful use of mime another, with a special mention that must go to his disgusting and hysterical impression of a baby. The monstrous screams as said-baby was birthed is sure to remain imprinted on my mind for some time to come.
Throughout his performance Walker draws us inside his silly world. It doesn’t take long at all for us to start yelling suggestions and even witty responses of our own, but this never throws Walker off. His ability to improvise and think on his feet makes this show spontaneous and exciting. For most of the audience this excitement comes from when he speaks to you, high fives you or even just gives you a knowing look. For one unfortunate in the front row, however, this is when he rummages inside your throat for a missing card. The sheer irreverence to personal space has us in stitches, but also leads to some genuine discomfort; not enough to stop us laughing, but perhaps enough to interfere with our enjoyment of the play just a little.
And though for the most part funny, hilarious even, Beep Boop has a few more strained moments like this one. Few and far between, but there was a definite cringe from me during the tongue-heavy kissing mime and even at the very beginning with the strained and red-faced impression of a kettle. These uncomfortable moments were almost entirely cancelled out by the better sections of the show, most especially the mime of Bon Jovi’s keyboard player in the song ‘It’s My Life’ and a fantastic shirt gag I won’t spoil here.
For a strange but amusing evening take a big group of your friends and go see this show. It may leave you mildly discomfited at times, but will leave you massively entertained by the end.