Review: Tom Houghton at Jackdome, Pleasance
4★★★★

Tom Houghton presents a self-aware and self-critical hour of stand-up about his experiences at an all-boys boarding school in the Lake District. Here boys operate a strict hierarchy, full of punishments, prejudice and homoeroticism, where girls are a completely different species. Tom takes the audience through his childhood at boarding school, where he was ‘abandoned’ by his parents at just six years old, and recalls hilarious stories about school discos and wanking in dorm rooms giving the audience an insight into his privileged upbringing.

However, Tom Houghton’s show takes a darker tone as his stories begin to illustrate how public schools ingrain superiority, elitism, sexism and prejudice into their pupils and he begins to criticise the private school system and the values it instils in its pupils.

Whilst this may sound more like a TED talk than a stand-up hour, Houghton is genuinely hilarious. He does impressions of his old school mates on their stag do they rack up lines and play into stereotypes that he emphasises really do exist. He toys with the line of political correctness all for the ‘bants’ and the audience, whilst at points afraid to laugh, are in stitches frequently. Houghton, despite believing himself to be ‘a posh twat’ comes out of the show as immensely likeable and manages to make his standpoint known without being preachy. A hilarious hour that gives the audience a fascinating insight into how the 7%-ers live.

Tom Houghton: That’s What I Go to School For, Jackdome – Pleasance, until 25 Aug, 8.10pm

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