EDINBURGH 2019: BWW Review: TOM CROSBIE: NERD WORLD PROBLEMS, Gilded Balloon Teviot
Tom Crosbie has a very particular set of skills; skills he has acquired over a very long time as a proud nerd. In Nerd World Problems, he showcases just what is possible with enough time, practice and a desire to impress.
This is a show that somewhat defies traditional categorisation. It's not quite comedy, not quite magic, not quite a one-man tribute to Alan Turing, but has elements of all of these.
Having welcomed the audience in with an adorable retro-style platformer video game that we are given the chance to play as the venue fills up, Crosbie takes us through several feats of nerdiness. Rubik's cubes, scrabble tiles and pixel art are all utilised in the service of displaying his mental prowess.
There is plenty of good crowd work throughout as Crosbie quickly builds a warm rapport with his audience. He is a likeable performer with an easy charm, always ready to bust out a fun fact to accompany his challenges, which are set up in a fashion akin to magic tricks. His stage persona is self-deprecating, but quite content in his mastery of the less cool arts.
While there are many comic moments throughout, Crosbie's mental stunts garner an appropriately impressed response from his audience. Without spoiling anything, his climactic feat is absolutely wonderful, and a suitable payoff for the storytelling throughout the show.
Nerd World Problems is a charming piece of daytime entertainment, ideal for a family audience, with awe-inspiring feats of mental prowess, a good deal of laughter and surprisingly educational moments.