Edinburgh Fringe Review 2019 – Troy Hawke: Tiles of the Unexpected!, Underbelly

Edinburgh Fringe Review 2019 – Troy Hawke: Tiles of the Unexpected!, Underbelly

Wearing a red satin smoking jacket and waving a long scarlet feather Troy Hawke sashays onto the stage and fixes his audience with a steely gaze.

This misguided aristocrat, the creation of comic Milo McCabe, has important information to discharge to his audience.

Hawke, who lives at home, and whose life has been guided exclusively by advice from his mother, has stumbled upon a formula, which explains life, the universe and everything.

It turns out the little numbers written on Scrabble tiles can be added together to reveal the secret meaning of people’s names, historical facts and world events.

Hawke demonstrates the truth of this revelation by analysing the names of randomly chosen members of the audience. Sometimes he is horrified by what the tiles reveal, often he is full of wonder, and frequently he appears to be fighting back a strong surge of sexual attraction.

Our camp and ridiculous hero is tremendously serious about his discoveries and secretly thrilled by his own brilliance. He simply cannot wait to share his crackpot theories with us.

Like conspiracy theorists everywhere, he remains blithely unaware of how he is manipulating reality to fit his ideas. His Scrabble tiles numerical theory grows and grows into a vast global intrigue, which involves a Swedish furniture manufacturer, an obscure German mathematician and the CIA mind control programme MK Ultra.

Hawke also presents us with ‘proof’ in the form of real prank calls to large corporations and government agencies in which receptionists are tricked into revealing the truth.  He exposes himself to danger – interviewing tough Australian drunks and conducting secretly filmed interviews in IKEA.

It’s an elaborately concocted, funny and brilliantly bonkers plot – and Hawke becomes more and more wide-eyed and excitable as connections mysteriously appear and everything adds up. 

He’s deluded, he’s awkward, he’s clearly unhinged but Hawke is an inspired and strangely loveable character, who retains an air of innocence and who is touchingly generous with all his useless and pointless knowledge.

Troy Hawke: Tiles of the Unexpected! is at the Underbelly until August 25. Tickets here.

Read more Edinburgh Fringe reviews here.



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