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Jamie MacDowell and Tom Thum - Fringe review 2014 by Sarah Agnew

Jamie MacDowell and Tom Thum, Company: Theaterland Promotions
Venue: The Warren: Main House, Category: Music
16-17 May 19:15 £11 (£9.50) 18 May 19:15 £11 (£9.50, £7.50 Student) [1hr 10mins]

Funk, soul, jazz, indie, rap and pop, it was all going off at the first show of Jamie MacDowell and Tom Thum's Air and Art five month tour. Baseball cap wearing Tom arrives on stage and begins by introducing fellow Aussie and flat cap wearing Jamie MacDowell, who starts off with the first song 'Thanks'. Then Tom brings in a beat, this turns into trumpet sounds as MacDowell continues to sing. Tom and Jamie banter and we learn Tom has just got off the plane from Brisbane this morning, he also has a cold, so fair play for making an appearance. The next song Jamie describes as a half-way, soft-rap called 'Believer'. Tom imitates scratching and Jamie 'soft-raps' reminding me of Skee-Lo's 'I wish I was a little bit taller'. Tom makes pulsating noises and deep heavy bass sounds from his throat, it sounds phenomenal and my mouth drops open.

Jamie disappears off stage while Tom takes full control and introduces us to his chaos pads, which record sounds to replay or add reverberation to his voice. From there he creates a tune called 'Ratchet face'. Boom! He has an incredible talent. Jamie reappears and plays 'Bubblegum', which has a Jack Johnson vibe about it. He then releases his mid length hair, a spotlight is positioned on his face and Tom blows a hair dryer at him, making his hair flow backward, while Jamie sings 'I will survive'. It's all very comical. Then the same is repeated at double speed, which works really well. Tom changes the tone and we're right there having a jazz moment. Trumpets, trombone and drums all making an appearance and showing his versatility as a beat boxer. Jamie comes back for 'Last parade', which starts with Tom playing the tune of 'When the saints come marching in' and finishes with a dip into funk, blending beat boxing, guitar and singing to great effect.

Next they welcome a guest Billy Boothroyd on stage with some banter which seems to break up the flow needlessly. They sing a song composed by Jamie about a friend and her coming out in Melbourne, called 'Brother'. It's a really touching song and receives a big cheer from the audience. Billy remains on stage for 'London', which I really enjoyed as well as one of their last songs 'Dear Nicolette' which has the lyrics, 'well send me down below / where all the different people go'. Jamie's singing and song writing skills are really impressive and could easily stand alone, as could Tom Thum's beat boxing. All of the original material was really good, the medleys less so but that could just be my preference. Together they make a really good, interesting and fun mix, I definitely recommend going to see them.  It will be interesting to see how they continue to develop their talents.

Sarah Agnew - follow on Twitter @IrishAggers

Tom Thum and Jamie MacDowell

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