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Tom Skelton: powerful story, bad gags

Christian Butler

Topics Culture

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Eight years ago, at the Edinburgh Fringe, comedian Tom Skelton realised he was going blind. Due to a genetic condition, he now performs with just five per cent vision. His new Fringe show, Blind Man’s Bluff, combines reflections on his condition with a potted history of blindness, complete with sketches about numerous blind historical figures, such as Homer and Louis Braille.

Skelton is a charming presence, but his genuinely poignant story is at odds with the show’s broad humour, silly costumes and forced puns. The historical stuff is surprisingly engaging in and of itself, but is offset by jokes that never quite land with the audience. There was also a forced sentimentality to it all, which his already powerful story doesn’t need. What this show does need is more and better gags.

★★☆☆☆

Christian Butler is a spiked columnist. Follow him on Twitter: @CPAButler

Tom Skelton: Blind Man’s Bluff is at the Underbelly Med Quad until 28 August.

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