Writer and performer: Tom Stade
Reviewer: Dave Cunningham
Tom Stade bounds onto The Lowry stage like a force of nature. As the title of the show, You’re Welcome!suggests, the appreciation of the audience is taken for granted. Stade’s in-yer-face style is so boisterous as to occasionally hinder comprehension. His loud voice is not always articulate and some words are garbled, indeed his bawled introduction for the support act is so distorted it’s hard to be entirely sure the name is Gareth Wall.
By comparison with the hyperactive main act, Wall’s laid back observational comedy is almost conventional. It’s a fine routine including observations on the correct social protocol for stripper bars but feels more like a contrast to, than setting the mood for, the main act.
It’s hard to determine if Stade has an actual routine; he tends to just ramble on about diverse subjects without drawing any sort of conclusion. This streams of consciousness approach can push the act towards the offensive. Having remarked that, for him, ‘no’ means ‘maybe’ Stade feels obliged to mitigate any offence by spinning off into a routine about being taken advantage of by his wife.
At its best, however, the show achieves a hilarious surreal fantasy mood. Stade reminisces about his Canadian hometown, where he is revered as a God for having learnt how to read a bus timetable and leave. Stade adopts the persona of a slightly stoned hillbilly, denying that he is an immigrant as he is not a bird. During a lengthy routine on his appearance at Glastonbury he remembers worrying about meeting the Dalai Lama, who was also in attendance, as he was unfamiliar with the group’s music.
Stade does not have to worry about hecklers. For one thing, his voice is so loud as to drown out most comments. Stade’s relationship with the audience is assertive. There is no doubt he is in charge, going so farwhen chatting, as to specify the response that is required.
Occasionally a solid gold nugget appears among the chatter. Stade describes his love of shabby reality TV shows such asUndercover Boss and points out that it is unlikely the boss of Nike will ever disguise himself as a nine-year-old sweatshop employee- unless it’s to find out why production is not higher.
One cannot help but enjoy You’re Welcome! but then Tom Stade gives the impression that such a reaction is compulsory
Runs until 30 January 2016 | Image: Contributed