Tom Allen: Indeed (4 stars)

This article is from 2016

Tom Allen: Indeed

credit: Andy Hollingworth

Patience pays off for this highly literate stand-up with a well-crafted hour of badinage

After nearly a decade of tinkering, Tom Allen has polished his act to near prime-time telly perfection. Seeming to pitch this slick show squarely at his mother's friends – all desperate to seem 'down with the poofs' and pair him up with the one other gay person they've met – Allen knows how to expertly plough that palatable furrow of mainstream gay, competently camping it up in the style of Graham Norton, Julian Clary and Kenneth Williams.

His arch airs and graces saunter demurely between delusions of grandeur and the realities of his suburban inertia: after being dumped by FaceTime, he's back home living with his parents, repeatedly failing his driving test and getting locked in a neurotic, middle-aged neighbour's newly redecorated 'dream toilet'.

His unrehearsed badinage is exemplary, with depictions of tawdry British buffets, 1980s leisure centres and housewife caricatures all solidly entertaining, while his neatly choreographed hour slides along as if on an upmarket pair of roller skates. He sniffily points out early on that 'gay isn't an identity in itself: it's not the 90s', swatting the air disdainfully as he delivers what is actually a very straight set of well-crafted, Saturday-night light entertainment.

Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug (not 15), 8.15pm, £8.50–£11 (£7.50–£10).

Tom Allen: Absolutely

  • 4 stars

Sharp of both tongue and suit, Tom Allen (you'll have seen him on 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, Live at the Apollo and Channel 4's Comedy Gala) presents a brand new show. Ages 14+.