What happens when a nerd puts on a show? Well, there are facts and figures, amazing feats of the mind, and plenty of laughs – though he does warn you that there is only one actual joke. The opening video of "his phone", switching between texting his mum, checking the timer and composing the perfect pre-show tweet is an excellent warm-up, leading into a rather geeky, marvellously skilful and incredibly funny hour.
Tom Crosbie has a gift for very gentle, self-deprecating humour, and is spot-on with his delivery. This makes for a show with a wide appeal, touching everything from Coleridge to cards, extinction to hand-eye exercises. I laughed so much I left feeling genuinely elated; though he's scheduled in "the hangover slot", you will feel energised and amazed by the end.
Much of what he does, he points out, would be far easier if he were a robot. And while that's almost certainly true – unless you're the person who has to program the robot, that is – the time he has spent perfecting an array of odd skills has most certainly not been wasted. From coming up with perfect magic squares, to memorising decks of cards and solving Rubik's cubes blindfolded (well he might have peeked a little), Tom shows what the human mind is capable of. And even when the tricks don't quite go to plan, Crosbie will still get a laugh from the audience.
The show is full of facts and figures, but so cleverly woven in that nerds and non-geeks alike will be enthralled; it's less like a lecture and more like taking Wikipedia to the pub for a pint and a laugh. The snippets of information are interesting, often relevant, and told with such genuine joy that you won't even realise that they were there to pass time as the next trick was prepared or performed.
Crosbie certainly looks the part, with thick-rimmed glasses and mustard cardigan; and he claims to be reading a book about how to attract women. Both clothes and back-story are rather overused stereotypes. While they serve their purpose, it is a shame that he doesn't use something more original to tie together the elements of the show; the "how to get a girl" trope is tired, though in this case, not offensive.
At the beginning of the show Crosbie tells us he's not a comic, a magician or a burlesque act. The first two of those are soon proved untrue – his sweet charm has you laughing out loud, and he performs math-magical feats aplenty – so you might start to worry about what the big finish might involve. But there is no cause for alarm: although you may be left open-mouthed and in awe by his finale, that cardigan stays firmly on.