Tom Allen: Both Worlds

Tom Allen is afraid of death. Not because he is unsure of the afterlife or scared of a painful passing, but rather because at his deathbed, if he carries on as he is, he’s terrified he’ll have nothing but a few good tweets to his name. Yet despite his self-deprecating opening, his persona more than contradicts this. While setting himself up as a self-conscious man, not using his short time on Earth effectively, Allen proceeds to deliver a set of still self-deprecating, yet confident and assured stand-up.

Whether it’s true Allen is wasting his life between stand-up gigs may remain up for debate; whether he is a talented comedian or not certainly isn’t.

These kinds of contradictions appear throughout Allen’s set and to great comedic effect. At first he’s charming, dishing out free chocolate hobnobs, making sure every last audience member has one. Yet as the show goes on this charm disappears and Allen becomes cynical and bitter, whether it’s about internet dating, gay pride or the effect of WhatsApp on one’s garden. “I’m going to finish now… because I’m bored” he says, ending the show in sassy yet majestic style.

The way he presents his jokes are also done in a similar fashion. Just when you think he’s told a joke or finished an anecdote, he’ll take a long pause and deliver what is actually his final punchline. He builds his comedy up and then breaks it down, leaving his audience is hysterics.

There was however a disturbance during his set, with several audience members arguing amongst each other and attempting to hide it. Allen handled the situation reasonably well, entertaining the rest of the audience while the bickering continued and eventually finding his footing once the distraction had ended. Yet it’s clear that confrontation isn’t his forte.

Yet despite this awkward and uncomfortable encounter, it is Allen’s energy and stage presence that ends up dominating the show. Whether it’s true Allen is wasting his life between stand-up gigs may remain up for debate; whether he is a talented comedian or not certainly isn’t.

Reviews by Will Roberts

The Assembly Rooms

Immigrant Diaries: Sajeela Kershi and Guests

Laughing Horse @ The Newsroom

Sajeela Kershi: Shallow Halal

Assembly George Square Studios

Chris Dugdale: Sleightly Dishonest

Just the Tonic at The Mash House

Ally Houston: Shandy

The Assembly Rooms

Tom Stade: You’re Welcome!


Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

‘Beguiling’ (Telegraph). ‘Gives the tradition of camp comedy a firmly 21st century twist’ (Guardian). ‘Otherwordly’ (Scotsman). ‘Tight’ (Melbourne Age). The thrillingly ‘erudite raconteur’ (List) takes you on a whirlwind journey. Tales of being in/out, upstairs/downstairs, happy/other emotions.

Most Popular See More

The Lion King

From £45.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

From £13.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £29.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £31.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets