Stephen K Amos – ‘laughter is the best medicine’, Beck Theatre, Hayes, Middlesex. 8th October 2011
Babooooon!! I’ve always wanted to start a review like that. No, I haven’t gone mad. I’ll explain later. Readers who have seen Stephen on tour before will understand.
I suspect Stephen will have been delighted that on his first return to the Beck Theatres, Hayes in Middlesex, that he didn’t have to be both warm up act and main act, as happened on 22nd November 2009, when his warm up act went to the “other” Hayes in Kent instead of being in Middlesex supporting him!!
This time the show was opened by newcomer, Muhammad, an African-English performer from South Africa. His 20 minute set joyfully explored matters of travel, race, cultures and language. Particularly amusing was his jokes about the rarely used word “niggardly”. A quietly confident and assured performer. I look forward to seeing more of him on our shores.
Laughter is the best medicine
Following on from ‘The Feel Good Factor’ tour of 2009-10, Stephen’s show was themed along similar lines, with ‘Laughter is the best medicine’, doing exactly what it said on the tin and giving the 400+ audience in the Beck Theatre an hour and twenty minutes of belly laughs that really would make anyone feeling under the weather forget any worries or illness they had coming into the theatre.
The show is based around the theme of reminiscing, for example recalling an incident where he was late for his sister’s wedding and got there towards the end of the speeches only to, embarrassingly and cringingly find his mother reading out his teenage diaries. Yet, perhaps not so embarrassing that it doesn’t stop him recalling diary entries himself for his comedic effect. Sharing these entries in his inimitable, self- deprecatory and amusing way is hilarious.
Interspersed with this and set routines was a fair amount of good natured audience banter.
Engaging with a few 15-17 year old teenagers in the front row Stephen was particularly fitting and no doubt deliberate as it allowed him to highlight another main theme – generational changes from his youth to how it is for young people today. For instance, the youths seemed mystified when Stephen recalled pre-mobile phone days when many families just had a single dial telephone in the house, days when it was all about VHS and Betamax video tapes, not DVD’s and i-players etc… Face book and Twitter.
With the tour approaching the end of its run, Stephen took the time to try out some new jokes. This part was a little hit and miss and when the misses got too much, Stephen was quick to stop and revert back to his tried and trusted tour material.
The show ended with a mini-encore as Stephen took questions from the audience and requests for favourite jokes. This resulted in him retelling the Australian cheese joke and Baboon joke – from a late night Edinburgh Fringe show gig a few years ago. You had to be there, so you’ll just have to catch Stephen live or on his DVD to get that one.
A superbly hilarious show from Stephen and proof that not only is laughter the best medicine but Stephen is also one of the country’s top comedians. This is also doubtless why he is a nominee for ‘Best Black Comedian’ at the 9th Black Comedy Awards 2011’ to be held in London.
Large post show queues to buy signed copies of his DVD was positive proof that the Hayes audience believed laughter is the best medicine and not only that, they wanted a further prescription to take home with them.
© Tiemo Talk of the Town
12th October 2011
The voting process for the 9th Black Comedy Awards 2011 is open until 11th November 2011. You can vote for any comedian you wish. The initial list of nominations and how to vote can be found on http://www.tiemo.co.uk/blackcomedyawards2011.html
Closing date is 11th November 2011, after which a short-list will be produced based upon the outcome of the public voting.