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Fringe review: Stephen K Amos – the story so far

Adelaide Fringe

Stephen K Amos blends chuckle-filled stories of growing up in London as one of seven children with current affairs, politics and hilarious views on everything from Donald Trump to Hollywood’s attempt at creating a black superhero. ★★★★

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In his show Stephen K Amos – the story so far, Amos pokes fun at redheads, the Queen, Prince Philip and the Pope, who he recently met.

The 51-year-old British stand-up is no stranger to the Adelaide Fringe and it seems no one or nothing is off-limits.  He captures the local audience’s attention early on with views on Lime scooters, Adelaide 500 “bow-ghans”, the Glenelg tram and the attitude of South Australians towards the recent hot weather, all in a confident style that flits between sarcasm and back-handed compliments.

His cheerful childhood memories include the inappropriateness of the board games Cluedo and Guess Who, and failing his O Levels at high school.

Amos has been a global hit for more than a decade on the international circuit and often performs impeccably dressed in a suit. So it is with some surprise that he struts on stage wearing a flannelette shirt, jeans and a bandanna that would look more at home in a New York borough than on a theatre stage (although the punters in the front row who he pokes fun at for wearing shorts to his show don’t seem to mind).

But the streetwise outfit seems to give him a fearlessness to tackle tough topics, including Harvey Weinstein and the #metoo movement. The joke threatens to fall flat before he digs himself out of a hole with quick-witted comedy skill to escape with a laugh.

The 60-minute show is also filled with a healthy dose of penis jokes and the odd fart gag. But it has a more serious side, too, as Amos reflects on the death in the past two years of perhaps the two most significant women in his life – his mother and his twin sister. Their passing caused him to rethink his future in comedy, leading to speculation this might be the last time we see him in Adelaide

However, in his show he vows to continue, in part as a tribute to them and to encourage people to live their lives to the full and keep things in context. Following on from his fundraising efforts for London’s Royal Trinity Hospice, Amos is now raising money for the Mary Potter Foundation in Adelaide by collecting cash at the door after his show.

While his cynical views are at times becoming tinged with the grumpiness of middle age, he is still a master of uplifting comedy and delivers laughs to adult audiences of all ages.

Stephen K Amos plays the Arts Theatre in Angas Street until March 16. See more Adelaide Fringe reviews and stories here.

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