Delightfully snobbish stand-up Tom Allen brings his new show to Horsham and Worthing

Tom Allen
Tom Allen

“Posh, haughty and gay.”

That’s Tom Allen’s response when he’s asked to describe his outlook.

The 34-year-old comedian is currently touring the UK with Absolutely, a wonderfully camp and snobbish stand-up show that examines the challenging times we live in.

He’s at Horsham’s Capitol Theatre on Wednesday, May 23 (8pm), and Worthing’s Pavilion Theatre on Tuesday, June 5 (8pm).

From Brexit Britain and road rage, to property prices and the interactions between young and old, Tom takes aim at society’s problems with sardonic wit and an air of snooty superiority.

Oh, and he also talks about living with his mum and dad.

“It’s always undermined by the fact that I live at home with my parents,” Tom says. “And that my parents are very much ordinary people.”

“It’s this idea of being aspirational and thinking I’m better than I am that has very much defined me as a child and as an adult.”

And Tom plays this up for the audience, making it a ton of fun when it all comes crashing down.

But the details of his living arrangements aren’t just there for laughs. Tom finds that they really strike a chord with people.

“I moved back because I was trying to save to buy my own place,” he explains, talking about how expensive properties are at the moment. “I think that’s why a lot of people have done it.”

“I’m caught in this loop now of having to stay at home with my parents and not being able to grow up, so it’s very stressful but hopefully kind of hilarious too.”

Comedy fans seem to think so and Tom has had a very busy couple of years with TV appearances on Mock The Week, Live at the Apollo and the Royal Variety Performance, as well as a sell-out UK tour in spring and autumn 2017.

On top of this he’s continued to co-host a gay-perspective podcast, Like Minded Friends, with fellow comic Suzi Ruffell.

Tom’s Capitol gig comes about seven months after his last Horsham show, an evening with Shappi Khorsandi and Paul McCaffrey at Christ’s Hospital Theatre.

“Oh yes, that was nice there,” he says, reflecting on the unconventional school venue. “I was a worried I was a bit sweary but they didn’t seem to mind. I mean it wasn’t an assembly so I didn’t feel too bad.”

In any case, it was an oddly appropriate setting for Tom’s material. From stressful birthday parties to an embarrassing incident on a water slide, he has plenty of brilliant anecdotes from his formative years.

“I felt very unusual as a child,” Tom laughs. “So it felt like the sort of thing to talk about. But what I realised is that everybody relates to that.”

Whether it’s your first day of school or a gruelling PE lesson, childhood is full of vivid memories, he explains.

“I suppose childhood feels like a very frightening time,” Tom continues. “And what you come to realise as an adult is that you still feel exactly the same.

“When you’re a child you think there’s some sort of crossing over point when you go from being a child to an adult, but all that happens is you just become a child as an adult.”

And being an adult in today’s world isn’t exactly easy.

“I think people feel a bit like we’re going through a time of change,” Tom explains. “I think a lot of people, in my generation especially, feel quite frightened about what changes are afoot.”

This all makes the show sound rather heavy but Tom insists that laughter is his main goal. In fact, if there’s a deeper purpose to his stand-up, it’s a purely uplifting one. Tom reckons that an important part of comedy is making people feel less alone by finding humour in your personal struggles.

“I really enjoy people who are able to talk about their vulnerabilities,” he says, listing the figures who inspire him – Kenneth Williams, Frankie Howerd, Sarah Millican and Alan Bennett.

“If you describe something that you thought was specific to you and only you and then other people go ‘oh, I relate to that’, that’s a really fabulous feeling.”

“I think that we’re not as different as we are sometimes made to think we are,” Tom states. “We’re actually all the same deep down and I think that’s the best thing for me, bringing people together like that.”

It’s a charming idea, but it does slightly contradict Tom’s earlier description of his comedic style.

Posh? Yes. Gay? Certainly.

But maybe Tom’s not as haughty as he’d have you believe.

Tickets for Tom’s Horsham gig cost £15. Call 01403 750220 or visit www.thecapitolhorsham.com. Tickets for the Worthing show are £15.50. Call 01903 206206 or visit worthingtheatres.co.uk.

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