Toby Hadoke is no stranger to standup comedy, where he has long associations with Manchesters’ XS Malarkey Club, nor to the Edinburgh Fringe, where he first performed Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf in 2006. Since then the show has returned for an encore, toured the country, been performed abroad, and he has also performed Now I Know My BBC on the Fringe. This year, however, dressed in his long scarf and startlingly clean burgundy Converse trainers, he has come armed with that which we have waited for: a true sequel.
Following directly on from Moths which detailed his long love of the last surviving Time Lord from his early childhood, through the long years of absence when the flame was kept alive by fandom, to the triumphant return in 2005 when he was able to share the show with his own son, My Stepson Stole my Sonic Screwdriver follows the same format as Toby recounts his unexpected new relationship and marriage, and introducing his stepson to the Doctor.
Having migrated from the labyrinthine dungeon of the Underbelly to a larger venue in Gilded Balloon’s Teviot House, the capacity crowd certainly contained a good many fans, but encyclopaedic knowledge matching the hosts (as if such a thing were possible) is not necessary to enjoy the show; while the focus is Doctor Who, it is aimed at anyone who has ever loved anything, knowing full well their love is both unconditional and unreasonable, simply because of the inexplicable joy it gives them.
The enthusiasm is both endemic and contagious as tales are recounted from marginally Who themed weddings and family trips to conventions to the universal woes and joys of any fandom, the continuity errors that indicate we love treasure the material more than those producing it and the happiness of being able to share something with someone close to you, that person being Ethan, the eponymous stepson, Toby’s own son having migrated to the world of Harry Potter, a betrayal Toby finds incomprehensible.
With an accompanying slideshow for the benefit of those who don’t know what species Meglos was, the show is not sophisticated, but for much of its existence, neither was Doctor Who, but it overcame through determination and invention rather than resources, but the show is also suddenly and surprisingly moving.
Profoundly deaf, Ethan will never be able to experience the show in the way his stepfather does; for him, the subtitled dialogue which flashes up onscreen ahead of the spoken words is “inaccurate spoilers scribbled on the screen,” nor will the caption DOCTOR WHO THEME be anything more than cold words that can never convey the most evocative television theme of all time, so instead they have to find new ways to communicate.
It seems the magic of the translation system extends beyond the screen for those who travel in the TARDIS.
My Stepson Stole My Sonic Screwdriver continues until Sunday 26th August