TOM THUM- BEATING THE HABIT

Tom Thum – Beating the Habit –Udderbelly 6.45pm

 

This was always going to be good. Having seen Tom Thum before, when he performed with the extremely athletic and exhilirating Tom Tom Crew, I was already well aware of his amazingly astounding beatboxing talents and ability to drive a show. What I was not quite so sure about was how he was going to carry a solo show for an hour as previously he had provided some captivating sounds to accompany some pretty impressive visuals. To be clear then here is what Thum does not do; backflips, strip off to his waist or launch into the air. What he does do is exude confidence and provide no concerns that he is capable of maintaining an hour long show on his own merits.

Whether it be a hazy, floating on air jazz trumpet, hissing hi-hat, booming bass drum, Julie Andrews on helium style vocals or the familiar and re-assuring crackle of old vinyl it would seem there is no sound Thum cannot convincingly summon up from his vocal cords. Armed only with an arsenal of basic equipment to store the sounds he conjures up we are treated then to remixes of ‘Tainted Love’, Rappers Delight’ and the, bemoaning the fact he still lives with his parents, original ‘Homestay Blues’. There is also a section where the audience suggest sounds for him to make and last nights requests included an imploding kitten-nice-and dolphins having sex. This section shows the dexterity of his talent and the fact he can respond at breakneck speed.

A short film followed about his time in rehab to purge him off his beatbox addiction-the beating the habit of the show’s title- and this section is well executed with humour and verve. It is then back for his closing section featuring a Terminator analogy which cannot fail to impress.

That is the thing about this show, there is little about it which can fail to impress and, indeed, some sections will leave you gobsmacked at the talents this young man has at his disposal. Thoroughly amiable and charming his natural insouciant charisma shines unquestionably through until the very end of the show. The other night during the preview shows I was in the toilets and heard a strange collection of sounds that I assumed was the toilets backing up-the excessive rain of late has provided uncertainties such as this- and rushing out the cubicle I ran into Thum doing the beatbox version of practicing his scales and vocal exercises and suddenly my fears were assuaged. Likewise this show will set aside any notions that the Fringe does not have something worthwhile to offer in 2012.

*****

David Marren

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