Not quite living the dream but Tom Allen’s on the road to Eastbourne

Tom Allen at the Royal Hippodrome Theatre in Eastbourne
Tom Allen at the Royal Hippodrome Theatre in Eastbourne

Tom Allen brings his show Absolutely to the Royal Hippodrome Theatre, Eastbourne, on Wednesday November 7.

Following a sell-out run at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe, where his was rated as one of the best shows, Tom has continued his debut tour around the country.

Soaked in Tom’s signature waspish snobbery and wit, Absolutely addresses the elephant in the room which is that Tom is still living at home with his parents, because he can’t afford not to, in Bromley, Kent. He’s always at home in Alan Bennett and Mike Leigh territory as he shares with us his personal experiences of suburbia, especially since the Referendum.

Tom addresses the ‘difficult times’ we live in – but were things really better ‘back in the day’, when he was a child and you could fit 15 kids in one car?

Tom has recently found some independence from his parents by passing his driving test, but as insurance is too expensive he’s been added to his mum and dad’s policy for their Ford Fiesta Zetec (1.5 litre engine, 2006, five door, maroon, boot doesn’t close). It’s not glamorous but he has been learning how to deal with road rage and motorways, as well as giving lifts to his mum and dad.

Tom’s unique style of sharp, acerbic wit and camp, riotous storytelling has seen him perform all over the UK, Europe, Canada, America, Australia and New Zealand.

The last couple of years have been incredibly busy with him starring in BBC1’s Wedding Day Winners, BBC2’s Mock The Week, Live At The Apollo, Extra Slice and Strictly – It Takes Two, ITV’s Royal Variety Perfomance, Channel 4’s 8 Out of 10 Cats and 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, and Radio 4’s Loose Ends and Just a Minute. Later this year, Tom will be hosting Channel 4’s Bake Off: The Professionals. As someone who is on the road a lot, heading to various theatres, comedy clubs and arts venues to perform his own learned brand of stand-up, Tom is now able to get himself around rather than rely on lifts or use public transport. He passed his driving test at the third attempt, but comments: “One of the things I get anxious about it is getting petrol on my hands: what if it burns? So, I put the gloves on when I’m at the petrol station, and there are those tissues you can use: I like to avail myself of all the accessories. But when I did so, my friend openly mocked me.”

Motoring issues aside, as someone who clearly has a deep love of language, you can imagine Tom joyfully revelling in the discovery of new words. “I do like words. I learned the word esoteric just the other day: ‘that which is created or delivered for a specific audience or an audience with a specific reference point’. I don’t know if I’m esoteric; I think I’d like to think I was, but in reality I’m actually very ordinary. But isn’t that thing, it’s the game we all play, the secret we all hide is that we’re actually the same as everybody else. I do say the word ‘absolutely’ quite a lot and last year I called my show Indeed. They’re just words for saying yes, and it is important to say yes to things and to live life to the full as much as one can.”

read more: Summer smash hit Return To The Forbidden Planet