Edinburgh Fringe Review – Tom Craine: Thoughts on Love (By a Man with None of the Answers)

Tom Craine seems like a nice guy. There’s something a bit cuddly about him. When the show starts, he greets us all warmly, inquiring into the health of an audience member who suddenly has a coughing fit, and only gently ribbing latecomers so as to not embarrass them too much. The Bunker at the Pleasance Courtyard is possibly the perfect venue for him. It feels intimate and friendly, just like the show itself. Once the playful and quick-witted audience interaction is dealt with, he settles into the storytelling part of the act: a while ago Craine was asked to write a regular column for Cosmopolitan magazine called Sex and the Single Guy, despite the fact that Craine felt wholly unqualified to write about love and relationships at all. Through the column he starts receiving letters from a lonely girl called Emma, asking for advice. As the show title suggests, Craine has no answers for her whatsoever.

One third of the sketch group Jigsaw, Craine is used to constructing shows around various set-pieces. While there is a solid structure to the show, it rarely ever feels like it. He approaches the subject of love with a great deal of thought and care, ruminating on a culture obsessed with dating, making us afraid to be alone. At some points the laughs can fade away somewhat, but Craine is always careful to reel the audience back in. I say he’s cuddly not to put him down, but to demonstrate what kind of comedian he is; not particularly edgy, but always genuine and personable. It’s a crowd-pleasing show. Hard-bitten cynics may find it all a bit much, but Craine is funny enough to win anyone over.




Stuart Addison

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