Tom Allen ... And Other Short Stories

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

Not all shows at the Fringe are as classy as Allen’s. The pre show music is provided by the pop star with operatic ambitions, Rufus Wainwright and an orchid decorates the table upon which Allen balances his water. Allen himself is well turned-out, too, sporting a smart brogues and blazer combo and his words are as metered and considered as the visuals. You feel safe in his hands.

Allen won the So You Think You’re Funny? and BBC New Comedy competitions in 2005 and it’s easy to see why, as he has lovely theatrical demeanour. But across an hour, the gags don’t quite stretch out, you can’t help but feel that this solo show was a little premature.

Nevertheless his narrative is an engaging one, despite claiming nothing of interest has happened to him in his life so far. The tales he tells are of his mundane existence growing up in the unremarkable Bromley in Ken, a stifling normality emphasised by his parents’ excitement over their new kitchen. And those parents have usual voices: his mother becomes the gruff masculine one and his father an exaggerated feminine. It’s a simple gag but it coming from the immaculate and poised Allen makes it all the more amusing.

He goes on to relate his one-sided devotion to Billy, the dog he walks; of the fearsome Auntie he works for in her brassiere; and of his adventures after leaving home.

The funniest moments here are the self-deprecating asides to the audience and almost throwaway lines such as ‘I never went to camp, if anything camp came to me.’

This debut show, though not the complete package, displays great promise. There can be little doubt that he is a star of the future

Reviewed by: Marissa Burgess

Review date: 1 Jan 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

What do you think?

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.