Review by Carla Speight
Tom Allen’s first major UK tour (Tom Allen Absolutely) treated the audience to his wonderfully sharp witted, well honed, conversational style comedy. While some of his jokes are marginally recognisable to long standing fans, his fast paced routine and charming delivery, makes it easy to forgive.
Tom Allen has been a long standing circuit favourite and panel show favourite for many comedy fans. It only seems right that he has a major UK tour, although Tom has humbly opted for more intimate venues. His popularity and recognisability has grown hugely over the last few years. His sharp comedic style has enabled him to regularly appear on well known, popular comedy panel shows. Plus he has several performances on national television shows such as the Royal Variety Show.
Tom has the capability of selling out much larger venues than the ones he has in this tour. However as this is his first UK wide tour, one can only presume it is a combination of staying within his comfort zone of smaller venues and possibly a lack of belief in his ever growing popularity.
Tom Allen’s Absolutely tour is based on anecdotes from his life as a 30 something gay man. Cleverly intertwining each story within each other, using one liners and at times just one word, to reference back to each story. Within each tale there were plenty of sharp witty comments and perfectly timed pauses, leaving the audience hanging on the joke and giving them chance to take in exactly what he had just said.
His references to his family and their friends provide several stories. Combining both fond memories and his ‘inside thoughts’ on the situation. Tom has perfected the ability to shock an audience and get away with it. His charming delivery of even the most air cutting opinions means he effortlessly brings out the laughter; using what most people would think but not say.
His descriptions of people he references in his stories are based on his justification for “being better” than them. One tale involved his parents making him attend a family friend’s party. Tom pointed out the party was for the friend to ‘show off’ her downstairs toilet. Hilariously he recounts how she wasn’t very good with online shopping and accidentally ordered 8kg of Ham. A reference which frequently popped up through completely unrelated stories, but with equally hilarious results.
This friendly conversational style is how he approaches individual audience members. His comedic timing and ‘inside thoughts’ surfacing during these interactions, show off exactly how talented he is. Interacting with the audience, playfully insulting them and keeping the audience on side throughout; is a skill only an experienced comedian can learn and deliver as effortlessly as Tom does.
This show is less ‘angry’ and ‘anti stereotype’ than Tom has been known for. Previously he has brilliantly flipped stereotypical moments and references to the gay community, whereas this show seems to embrace the stereotypes. For example he played show tunes during the interval, and included Barry Manilow’s Copacabana. He joked about how he recognises quality of curtains and that he was in the music club at school, where they learned show tunes in french, and the Muppets theme tune, ready to perform for a french retirement home. A club that lead him to France on a school trip “for the day” after a very long coach trip, each way.
During one of his stories he confessed that the typical question a gay person is asked is “when did you know?”. In response he happily points out that he always knew he was “better”, so did his parents. When Tom went to high school, he arrived on his first day with a monogrammed briefcase.
Other examples of how he is better is that he notices the tiling in a bathroom selfies that is meant to show off men’s bodies. Typically these images are found on online dating sites. Tom compared the difference between “straight sites” and “Better sites”. Highlighting hilarious examples of the complete differences within the similarities. “When it asks ‘What are you into?’. Tinder or Match’s responses might be romantic walks or meals etc, Grinder’s response is ‘Fisting’.” The audience laughed wholeheartedly at this comparison and even Tom mischievously smirked at the audiences response.
That mischievous smirk and audience reaction is exactly what the show is aiming for. Pushing the boundaries a little by revealing ‘inside thoughts’ within ordinary relatable situations perfectly. Tom’s charming sharp wit could easily sell out bigger spaces, but the smaller spaces suit his conversational style. Tom Allen’s Absolutely is brilliantly put together, relatable, hillarious and delivered by a wonderfully talented comedian, who is definitely one to watch.
Tom’s show is appearing all over the UK this year, running right into September. To find out where he is performing and how to book your ticket’s go to his website www.tomindeed.com. To find out what Tom is up to and all his latest information, follow him on Twitter and Instagram.