Having made innumerable appearances on British comedy panel shows, UK comedian Tom Allen can now trade on his recognition and stage a full-length solo show as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. However, if you’re not familiar, he’s an extremely posh sounding young gay man with a line in bitchy repartee that could easily give Joel Creasey a polite, yet acid tongued, run for his money.
Greeting each of his audience members as they enter the room with a handshake and a warm hello, he’s nothing if not the charming British gentleman at first view, but it doesn’t take long for the witty/bitchy barbs to start flying thick and fast as the front row and latecomers get a grilling. It’s what Allen is best at, casual conversation about everyday life, sprinkled with hilariously catty gay judgement that thankfully is done with a wink and a smile so no one ends up seeming to be too put out.
But that’s not the meat of Allen’s routine, which is instead built around explaining how a boy from working class Kent ended up with such an impossibly plummy voice and affectation – the young Tom being less interested in boxing training than the accompanying silk dressing gown/kimono for example. This is bolstered by stories of Kevin, the other ‘gay in the village’ whose competitive fabulosity is none too welcomed by Allen, who’d rather be the focus of gay attention amongst his friends.
In Absolutely, it does feel like Allen is a little short on content however, with exaggerated tales of hen’s dos and childhood birthday parties paling in comedic quality to the quick off-the-cuff gags he’s capable of when simply chatting with his audience. More of that and less of the hyperbolic stories from back home would see him finding an Aussie audience lapping up his perfectly bitchy gay shtick.