Adam Rowe: Pinnacle
- Suzanne Black
- 2 August 2019
Controversial and contentious material that doesn't always land well
The dog whistles can be heard in Adam Rowe's publicity material, which offers 'opinionated, no holds barred stand-up' and heralds a barrage of offensive material presented as a common-sense rebuttal to things like diversity going too far. He tackles a whole host of thorny topics, often in similarly controversial ways. An uncomfortable tirade against overweight people seemingly misunderstands the fat acceptance movement's efforts to reshape culturally constructed beauty standards. His discussion of transgender individuals claims acceptance while undermining it.
Rowe's material veers between the offensive and the genuinely inquisitive. His material on ingrained racism and homophobia learned in childhood fares well, as does his frustration with his girlfriend and descriptions of his sexual hangover habits. These sections engage with difficult matters rather than the contentious jabs he offers elsewhere, which may or may not be in earnest.
Rowe defends disgraced comedian Louis CK and criticises a 'cancel culture' that aims to make those in power accountable for their actions, at the same time implicitly defending his own show. Rowe is good at what he does. He is clearly clever and tapped in to hot-button issues. With material that's well-written, well-paced and well-delivered, there's definitely an audience for the provocative views Adam Rowe is peddling.
Just the Tonic at The Caves, until 25 Aug (not 12), 7.30pm, £5 in advance or donations at the venue.