Coming out in a frenzy of one-liners and astute social observations, Allen masters the stage in his voracious style. He is a clear raconteur, jumping from topics seamlessly and reading his audience astutely. In a clearly affected accent he takes on topics from dating apps to politics and everything in between. The punchlines themselves are unashamedly self-involved and that’s the beauty.
High energy and high-octane, anecdotes fly from his first John Lewis outing after passing his driving test with his bawdy Dad to the tedium of being a second-rate gay at a hen party. The delivery is sharp and polished, but Allen is unafraid to poke fun at himself as well as others. While occasionally he falters with audience interaction, he more than makes up for this in story-telling.
Lewd in a domestic style, Allen could be your self-aware middle-class liberal friend, casually mocking baby-boomer Tate-goers with lascivious wit. Nobody is safe: nosey bigoted middle-Englanders, pushy passive-aggressive newly-weds and the ‘2.4 children’ suburban sprawl. If a little too reliant on his sexuality to stir a laugh from time-to-time, Allen is still capable of thinking on his feet which, coupled with his 80 mph delivery, will wear any audience member’s loafers down.
Delivered to a packed audience, sexuality is interwoven perfectly throughout Allen’s set, proving he has more strings to his bow, telling tales of his life with a wit that is at times self-deprecatory but always intelligent.
Although occasionally slightly sensationalised, when he is on the money he is fierce and honest.
Words: Mikey Glancy
Tom Allen: Absolutely, Pleasance Courtyard, Aug 3-27 (not 14), 8pm