Monday, January 31, 2011

Amos-ing Grace - Stephen K. Amos review

Stephen K. Amos at Arlington Arts, on Saturday, January 15

I TOLD you last week what a nice man Stephen K. Amos was, and at his comedy show at Arlington on Friday he proved it to the max. While he relies heavily on audience interaction he went out of his way to make sure that no one felt uncomfortable, and promised to return to do a fundraising gig for Mary Hare School, to which sixthformers would be invited.

His current show show, The Best Medicine, would certainly be spot-on for a young crowd, as much of it is based around his genuine childhood diary, proving that Amos had a witty turn of words even aged 12, despite the fact that at the time he was deadly serious about his major life traumas, such as his mum buying him cheap “Abibas” trainers.

As it happened, the front row was chock full of young people, which proved the perfect conversation point as Amos compared his own childhood and adolescence with that of the youth today, pausing to explain terms which they may not recognise, such as “chalk” and “mining”.

Like Lenny Henry, performing his own preview shows at The Corn Exchange this week, who covered similar themes on his last tour, Amos is one of seven children of immigrants whose parenting style combined love with regular clips round the ear. HOwever, he clearly has a great love for his family - even if he didn’t when he was 12 - and has his mother to thank for rediscovering his diary and the comedy gems hidden within when she read out extracts at his twin sister’s wedding.

It was a treat to see Arlington packed to the rafters, and I recommend that others make the effort to experience the warm and wonderful atmosphere for themselves when Amos makes his promised return visit.

Support came from Paul F. Taylor, a Reading comedian and graduate of Newbury Comedy Festival’s You Must Be Joking stand-up contest. He was enthusiastic and likeable, with some enjoyably leftfield lines, including his thoughts about Americans sending their children to camp to deal with their problems such as “fat camp” and “brat camp”. When he was young, he had a problem with concentration... I’m sure you can figure out the payoff.

  • First published in Newbury Weekly News on Thursday, January 20, 2011

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