Tommy Rowson: Down and Out in Powys and London

A video highlighting Tommy Rowson’s previous misdemeanours introduced the audience to this apologetic reprobate, and what follows is a self-examination into how he can refine his miscreant ways. In parts, this is a relatively amusing introspective on self-improvement, but Rowson’s flagrant lack of any real enterprise to carry out any form of actual betterment leads to a rather underwhelming hour of comedy.

Sadly, it’s also evident that there is undoubtedly some spark hidden behind his vapid façade, but it’s never allowed out for the audience to see.

Such is his attitude of defeatism, most of his subjects are treated with a languor that inspires little empathy or mirth; all concerns are addressed with little meaningful purpose. Whether it’s talking about drive (‘never have too much of it’), or alcohol (‘drink it in halves instead), none of his points seem to really lead anywhere, and this provides rather frustrating viewing. It’s clear that Rowson has the intention of glamourizing a life devoid of any energy, and this consequently transcends his principles into his performance.

When suggesting that Jesus was a more down-to-earth character as a result of his time spent with prostitutes, all that comes across is a lazy, poorly thought-through attempt at rationalizing his own inaction and vice. Sadly, it’s also evident that there is undoubtedly some spark hidden behind his vapid façade, but it’s never allowed out for the audience to see. Whilst sifting through recollections of similar down-and-outs that have stamped some impression across his life, none of their stories, let alone his own, were remarkable or amusing enough to inspire a considerable laugh from the audience.

If you were to look at popular depictions of loveable rogues over the centuries, someone like the Artful Dodger or Del Boy might spring to mind. Unfortunately, Tommy Rowson isn’t one of them.

Reviews by Robert McGowan Stuart

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Tommy Rowson: Down and Out in Powys and London

★★
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The Blurb

Debut show from So You Think You're Funny? Winner 2011 and BBC New Comedy Finalist 2012 Tommy Rowson. Join Tommy as he tells tales from Wales and London featuring bordello belles, vagabonds, vagrants, swindlers, bindlers, drunks, drifters, drug dealers and Jesus. Warning: Contains poetry. 'A distinctive voice. This Welsh weirdo creates a quirky, oddball world - but one with which the rest of us can still easily identify. The anecdotes are full of detailed aside and delivered with perfectly-judged timing' Steve Bennett (Chortle.co.uk).

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