Review: Adam Rowe: Undeniable at Just the Tonic 

Adam Rowe opens the hour with a show of hands.

Who’s Scottish? Who’s English? Who’s international? Who’s American and voted for ‘him’? Nobody, apparently, and with that Rowe, a self-identified chubby 25 year old Scouser, narrows down the focus to his lazy eye. He’d rather explain what it is than leave us guessing the entire evening, he says.

The rest of Undeniable follows on in this fashion. Rowe minces no words, conceals no ugly truths, and delivers withering attacks on himself as much as he spins tales of dealing bemusedly with his girlfriend, his mother, six foot four blood-soaked Russians named Dmitri, difficult Greggs employees, and all the other dickheads that plague the average working class British man.

Rowe punctuates his down-to-earth, conversational style with smiles and sniggers which allows him to slip some rather dark lessons into the mix. Middle class people have poor survival instincts, we learn, because too few of them were punched in the face as children. We learn that in love you should seek fourth best, rather than destroying yourself in pursuit of ‘the one’. Between references to ham-from-the-packet hangovers and cleverly concealed mental instability, Rowe throws in quick mentions of death, failure, and desperation. He gives money to homeless people only because he sees in them his own potential fate. Fear, Rowe insists, is a gift, and he says it all with a smile, no more threatening than your average BBC panel show host.

Rowe might not blow your mind or explode your lungs, and he might not have an exotic gimmick, but he has undeniable charm, and is undeniably funny. He does not paint a pretty picture of Liverpudlian working class life, but he is one of its sterling representatives.

Adam Rowe: Undeniable, Just the Tonic, 9-26 Aug (not 13), 7.40pm

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