Sion Pritchard’s performance as Tom – an ordinary man describing his life since losing his father, was one of the most simple but moving shows you will see at the Fringe this year.
Tom’s story starts the morning after the work Christmas do, where a hilarious account of his stereotypical co-workers and his internal reactions to their stupidity has the audience roaring with laughter. His long-suffering girlfriend Nat drops a bombshell in the midst of his hangover the next day (which he just can’t deal with) just as he is leaving for Swansea to spend Christmas with his mother. After bumping into some old school friends on his journey home and more hilarious depictions of some classic comedy characters, we move into the real substance of the show.
The audience is shown the real reason for Tom’s intolerance towards his colleagues and explains the distance he puts between himself and Nat. What previously came across as dry humour is actually just the brave-face that masks the emotional turmoil of Tom’s bereavement process.
45 minutes in and we had all gone from shedding tears of laughter to tears of sorrow. This story is one which will take you through a spectrum of emotions and could only have been pulled off by Pritchard’s stunning performance as Tom. He brought the story to life with literally no more than his way with words and a spotlight on his face. No props needed here. It is impossible not to be impressed when one man can hold the attention of the room for a full hour just with the strength of his acting alone.
Last Christmasto me is the definition of understated skill and really makes you appreciate the pure joy of simple storytelling. This is what the Fringe is all about and you would be mad to miss it.