Bittersweet Little Lies | Review by Paul Fleckney
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Bittersweet Little Lies

Note: This review is from 2016

Review by Paul Fleckney

Adam Rowe isn’t especially my cup of tea, but he definitely has a certain something. His debut show, Bittersweet Little Lies, is combative, engaging and, um, honest.

It takes as its starting point a fib his dad told him when he was young: that it’s OK to lie if it means you can get drunk. From there the 24-year-old Liverpudlian gives us a warts-and-all portrayal of being brought up by a single, alcoholic mum, who passed away young. There is absolutely no sense of Rowe telling us this for pity, he is a matter-of-fact comic who, you suspect offstage and onstage, would never shirk a challenge.

He is more concerned with truth and lies. His closing argument that honesty isn’t the best policy, and that he is angry at his dad being too honest to him, is an odd bit of logic that I didn’t really follow. But still, this theme is a springboard for a promising debut show.

His style is assertive and clubby. This serves him well, as he easily holds the audience for the duration, and being direct during the more poignant passages is a good combination. The balance he found between jokes and background about his life was spot-on – he simultaneously kept moment going, while giving us food for thought. And when it came to the business end, his delivery was snappy.

The material was patchy, but there were some great lines, such as the one about a girlfriend who grieved in odd places, and how the victims of gang culture are rarely pillars of the community. A routine on how his family have birthdays on the same day shouldn’t have made it to the show, though.

Being just 24, there is an immaturity to his game. Some of the jokes he passed off as true seemed too obviously made-up – the most obvious being the Facebook status he saw about a friend’s elderly relative who’d died. All comics make things up, of course, but when a joke is being told as a piece of observational comedy, it needs strong, plausible foundations.

And at times he can be overly aggressive – one bit which started out as criticism of veganism ended up as an unprovoked attack on some poor bloke in the audience, which was quite charmless and clumsy.

In short, plenty of rough edges, but plenty of promise.

Review date: 10 Aug 2016
Reviewed by: Paul Fleckney
Reviewed at: Just The Tonic at The Caves

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