Review: My Stepson Stole My Sonic Screwdriver

Edinburgh Festival Fringe until August 26 (not 15).

Toby Haydoke returns to the Edinburgh Fringe with his currently touring follow-up to Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf

Doctor Who fans (or any cult TV fan or collector for that matter) will recognise much of themselves in Toby Hadoke’s Who-centric stand-up show, currently playing to healthy houses as part of Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe.

Anyone who saw Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf, his previous show, (or heard the BBC CD) will know the score. This is an energetic hour of anecdote and storytelling that draws on the life of a Doctor Who fan, but the emphasis is very much on ‘life’ as much as ‘fan’. That’s because Hadoke draws on his real family life for much of the humour (the clue is in the title), making the show accessible beyond those who know their Seeds of Death from their Seeds of Doom… From his partners to his kids, no-one and nothing seems off limits, but it is all grist to his stand-up mill.

There are plenty of specific Who references to keep dedicated fans happy, of course, but as Hadoke goes to great pains to explain to perhaps nervous ‘not we’ audience members, anything other than cursory knowledge of the show is not required. However, to get the most out of this often hilarious melange of trivia and wit, it helps if you know your stuff as well as Hadoke obviously does…

It’s a fast-paced show, both touching and laugh-out-loud funny at different points. Perhaps the slide-show portions don’t work quite as well as the rest, but they’re largely decorative. The success of the show is simply down to Hadoke’s presence: he’s on stage alone for about an hour, yet he’s clearly shaping his material day-by-day to suit the temperature of any given audience.

Hadoke’s maybe a bit hard on The Underwater Menace (what has Professor Zaroff ever done to him?), but he can be forgiven for that. What may be more worrying to some is the way any dedicated Who fan will undoubtedly recognise something of themselves in his recounting of hours spent sorting his DVDs in story order (even the ones that are currently missing!) and his efforts dedicated to helping others understand the difference between a collector’s item and a mere toy.

Witty and warm, My Stepson Stole My Sonic Screwdriver captures the current cool factor in being a Doctor Who fan!

Verdict: Better than The Underwater Menace… much better!

My Stepson Stole My Sonic Screwdriver: 8/10

Brian J. Robb

My Stepson Stole My Sonic Screwdriver continues at The Gilded Balloon as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe until August 26 (not 15).

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