Stephen K Amos: More Of Me

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

Stephen K Amos surely has a truly spectacular show in him, given his natural wit and the effortless way he can manipulate an audience - if only he would stray a little further from his comfort zone.

He is easily one of the best comperes in the country, full to bursting with charm and warmth, able to josh freely and wittily with whatever crowd he stands before. But when it comes to Edinburgh shows, he could afford to leave some of that banter behind and get serious quicker.

Within this hour he asks several people where they’re from, says ‘gimme seven’ to a man from a rural area perceived as a hotbed of inbreeding, ‘now he’s gone, let’s hide’ once a punter sneaks out to the toilet, thanked the ‘comedy god’ for a silly audience comment, told a latecomer ‘we’ve all said a bit about how Jesus has come into our lives, now it’s your turn’, asked someone if they were having a good time and if so ‘tell your face’…’ just about every line in the book, basically.

You can easily forgive him for saying these stock phrases, such is the happiness he’s spreading. And, to be fair, some come from the mouth of an evangelical preacher character Amos adopts at the top of the show for the very purpose of warming the audience up. But it indicates an unwillingness to leave this MC-type style behind, so ingrained in his psyche has it become – especially as this show is supposed to be, in part, about not hiding behind a metaphorical mask.

Amos will step out of that persona, but tentatively. Last year he made the bold decision to come out on stage – after an hour of similarly jovial build-up to cushion the revelation. This time he talks with honesty about growing up black in Seventies Britain, and about the homophobia endemic in a lot of urban youngsters, spread through religion and ragga. But again, it’s tempered by the jester in him mucking about.

He touches on the latent racism of his youth, of how the sitcom Love Thy Neighbour led him to be called ‘nig-nog’ and ‘sambo’ at school, how he confronted reggae superstar Elephant Man about the hatred in his lyrics for a Channel 4 documentary, all with feeling, honesty and good humour.

His delivery is perfect. He can trigger an applause break with the smallest gesture, such is his control of the crowd. Everyone loves him, and he exploits that wonderfully in a joyous finale guaranteed to send you out into the street with as song in your heart. It is yet another brilliantly executed feelgood show.

If only there was a bit more substance where that banter was, it would make that quantum leap to five-star smash.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Jan 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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