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Tom Allen: Absolutely (Edinburgh Fringe Festival)

absolutely The devil went down to Prada. Tom Allen. Photograph: Courtesy of Robert Gershinson.

Tom Allen’s high camp and quick-fire comedy is still on top-gunning form in Absolutely. Big gay laughs from start to finish.

Tom Allen’s new show, Absolutely takes aim at the stresses of being a child, hen parties, and still living with his parents in suburban south London.

Writing

Could Tom Allen have made a better show after five star Indeed last year? It was always going to be a tall order for Allen to reach those dizzying giggling heights once more, but after another year living with his parents in South London, the task hasn’t daunted him one but nor has suburbia tainted his wit.

Allen, who’s increasing popularity has seen him become a regular panellist on shows like 8 out of 10 Cats, hasn’t waned in his ability to torrent high octane comedy that shows off his uncanny and side-splitting observations. His energetic campery drives the pace so that there’s never a dull moment in Absolutely – there’s no rest for the wickedly fabulous afterall – but it really is the brilliantly inspired comic tilts he finds on things like children’s birthday parties and modern suburban life that smack you right in the funny bone and has you howling with laughter.

The only slight thing I could pick a hole in is that some of his routines chime exquisitely well with those of his (and my) generation and up: things like his side-splitting account of parties at 10-pin bowling alleys. Such scenarios might seem a little unfamiliar with younger crowds, but what Allen extracts from such reminisces still never fails to strike a comic accord that means there isn’t one person left in the audience who isn’t at least tittering with glee, even if they have never been to such a soiree in their lifetime (and believe me, you’re really missing out).

Performance

There’s really very little that phases Allen in his performance. At the performance of Absolutely I was at, Allen responded remarkably well to what appeared to be quite an older crowd, affectionately mocking them and cheekily playing to stereotypes of older patrons to great applause.

But the thing with Allen’s performances, as was with Indeed, is that it always feels really personal, despite Absolutely playing to a larger room at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival than last. It’s part of what makes Allen such a consummate comedian; the jokes are something that always feels like he wants to share rather than just tell to an audience.

Verdict

If laughter’s the best medicine, Absolutely needs to be made available on the NHS. A hysterical hour of astute observation.

Tom Allen: Absolutely played at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival. For more information about the festival, visit www.edfringe.com.