Tom Stade: Decisions Decisions

Looking back at it, Tom Stade is the ideal performer to subdue the rowdy (but never disruptive) last-weekend-of-the-Fringe, Friday-night-on-George-Street, Assembly-Rooms-Ballroom crowd (you can only have one –ed.).

His delivery is flawless – every beat hit with the right amount of emphasis, every punchline delivered with perfect timing, every small call-back well constructed.

Once clean-shaven with carefully coiffured hair, Stade now sports long, almost shoulder-length locks with an accompanying beard that, at a distance, could see him mistaken for Jim Morrison reincarnate. He doesn’t play this rock star image down either, taking the stage to a guitar-laden soundtrack and copious amounts of dry ice.

Once the noise settles down and the obligatory shouts of admiration from the crowd subside, Stade introduces the topic that has been occupying his thoughts lately – if it’s possible to make a definitive judgement as to whether an action amounts to a good or bad decision, before the action takes place. In effect, this through-line is a bit redundant; it is just a broad ranging concept that is a means by which Stade can link together the disparate chunks of the show’s opening half.

Sitting at exactly ninety degrees to the front of the stage, as I was on the night, I was in the perfect position to get a sense of how Stade works his material, which is by no means groundbreaking, so effectively. Watching it somewhat dispassionately, I couldn’t help but be impressed. At the moments where his volume drops those few decibels, he presses up to the front of the stage, imposing himself over the front rows. When he is in full-flow, he goes backstage a few paces and lets the audience’s laughter and his material feed off one another. Where there is anything that needs a few lines of set up, he keeps the tempo up with a well-placed expletive.

I say the material isn’t anything radical; that’s probably doing him a disservice. His delivery is flawless – every beat hit with the right amount of emphasis, every punchline delivered with perfect timing, every small call-back well constructed. The material he is working with is honed-down and air-tight to the point that there is never a drop in energy in the room.

Anyone familiar with his work will know that he often picks out a few members of the front rows to converse with and play out various scenarios. This seemingly simple technique is used masterfully to keep the audience in check in the opening stages with the audience-members in question being the butt of some light-hearted quips. The production is so big, and Stade such a huge stage presence, that these one-to-ones are an interesting counterpoint and keep the remainder of the spectators engaged. As the hour approaches, Stade peppers Steve, his main accomplice on the night, with some one-sided questions to propel the routine along to its climax.

For all his whacked-out, 80’s coke-survivor talk, Stade is the ultimate pro. As you might sense, his type of comedy isn’t exactly my thing but I couldn’t help but laugh. Sometimes, some people are just that good at what they do.  

Reviews by Ryan O'Connor


Alex Smith – Real Man


Josie Long

Gilded Balloon Teviot

Tommy Tiernan: Under the Influence

theSpace on North Bridge


Venue150 at EICC

Frankie Boyle: Prometheus Volume I


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 £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

The free-thinking philosopher returns to ponder timeless questions and reflect upon life’s choices and decisions. Following storming sets on Live at the Apollo and Channel 4’s Comedy Gala at London’s O2 Arena, catch this exuberant and spellbinding talent as he continues his assault on the global comedy scene. Incisive comedy with the usual sprinkling of Stade magic and expertly-crafted mayhem. A true master of his craft. 'Unmissable' ***** (Edinburgh Evening News). 'Rock‘n’roll comedian. Absolutely boxfresh; nothing is staid about Stade' (Evening Standard).

Most Popular See More

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mary Poppins

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £42.00

More Info

Find Tickets