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Review of Stephen K Amos: Welcome To My World

PUBLISHED: 16:40 19 February 2015 | UPDATED: 16:47 19 February 2015

Stephen K Amos / Photo: Featureflash

Stephen K Amos / Photo: Featureflash

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Clare Mackintosh went along to see stand-up comedian Stephen K Amos at The Theatre, Chipping Norton, on February 13. Here’s what she thought of his latest show, Welcome To My World.

One of the great things about The Theatre, Chipping Norton, is its proximity to one of Chippy’s finest pubs, The Chequers’ Inn. In addition to it being an excellent place to grab a pre-show supper, it means you’re very likely to find theatre performers enjoying a swift half before they trot next door to take the stage.

And so it was that I met stand-up comedian Stephen K Amos, tucked away in a corner between a pile of board games and a rather terrifying stuffed badger. It is perhaps not surprising that Stephen’s ‘real life’ persona is far more subdued, far less arrogant than his on-stage presence, but nonetheless I had to remind myself that this quiet chap would soon have his audience clutching their sides and wiping tears of laughter from their eyes.

At least, I assumed he would. ‘I’ll be trying out some new material,’ Stephen said, ‘and the first half of the show will be about getting to know the audience, chatting about the local area, that sort of thing.’ I wondered how much Stephen knew about Chippy, given it was his first visit here. ‘Well, it’s impossible to find a parking space, for a start,’ he said. So far, so accurate.

What I didn’t confess to Stephen – or his manager – as I wished them luck for the show and finished my G&T in the company of the stuffed badger, was that live comedy scares me rigid. In a large theatre booking the cheap seats dramatically reduces the risk of being singled out for public humiliation, but in the intimate space of Chippy theatre there’s nowhere to hide…

My fears were unfounded. In addition to being a genuinely funny and insightful comic, Stephen is as skilled at teasing his audience as he is at managing the heckles lobbed his way from the auditorium. Although he mercilessly ribbed young ‘just good friends’ George and Daisy about their career plans, relationships and George’s gap year let-down, at no point did it feel uncomfortable. We laughed with George and Daisy, not at them.

Plans to build an Aldi supermarket in Chipping Norton provided a launchpad for Stephen’s routine, which was carefully tailored to his local audience, but it was in the second half that his material came to life. He tackled controversial issues of race, religion, class and sexuality, treading the perfect line between politics and comedy.

Welcome to my World is a pitch-perfect performance worthy of the huge theatres in which it has been programmed around the country, and it was a treat to see it in the intimate setting of Chippy’s lovely theatre. A great night out.

Stephen K Amos: Welcome to my World is appearing at The Regal, Evesham on February 20, at Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, on February 22, and at Didcot Cornerstone on February 27. For full tour details, visit www.stephenkamos.com.

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