Tom Tom Club (FringeTIX)
Tom Tom Club @ The Umbrella Revolution
10:00pm, Sat 16 Feb 2008
In strikingly similar circumstances to 2007’s performance of Tom Tom Club, I enter the Umbrella Revolution with the same mate on opening night and with a few drinks under my belt. The 2008 Umbrella Revolution is a much more up-market affair than in previous years; polished wood seating on three sides of the central performance space creates a more intimate, small circussy feel. The new seating, whilst not as vicious as that of years gone by, still managed to be arse-numbing in all sorts of new and creative ways.
As for the show… well, it’s more-or-less the same as last years effort, just tightened up a bit. It’s a hip-hop driven acrobatic tumble-fest; Ben Walsh, Tom Thum and DJ Dizz1 provide the audio backdrop for the physical antics of the four resident acrobats (Ben, Daniel, Shane, and Tom), before occasionally commandeering the spotlight themselves. It’s hard to tell who the star of the show is: Walsh is the big name that drew me to the show (and his OmniChord makes a re-appearance (with a song that didn’t make me cringe as much as last year’s), along with the flailing drumming of the Wheel Of Life). DJ Dizz1 did a tremendous scratch on Whole Lotta Love and provided sterling work throughout. Tom Thum amazes with his World Champion beat-boxing skills, sounding at times like a convincing vinyl record, AM radio, and even mimicking Dizz1’s efforts. Oh, and beat-boxing whilst performing a head spin. Oh, and that great rendition of Billie Jean.
But the real front-men are the four acrobats. Using every inch of space in the centre of the Revolution – and sometimes even faux-tumbling into the crowd – they perform with pace, verve, passion; there’s a genuine feeling of danger, that these chaps may indeed be performing on the edge of their abilities. If that’s an act, then it’s a very convincing one; regardless, it’s still pretty exciting stuff.
After seeing the first performance of Tom Tom Club last year, I said “If they trim that wanky spray-painting thing off the start and magically sober me up, I’d rave more.” Well, they did trim, and so I will rave more. This leaner, punchier Club is a far better show for the editing; there’s very few flat spots, the energy starts at “woah” and gradually ascends to “WOAH!” throughout.
But, at the end of the day, is it worthy of the standing ovation afforded it by a fair chunk of the audience? Hell no – but that’s me, the stingiest of the standing ovators. Still, it’s well worth your cash… hang on, I’ve just checked the ticket – $34. Bloody hell. That’s… ummm… I want to say it’s par for the course, but I’m not sure I can :}