Introducing himself to lively hip hop music and vibrant coloured lighting Amos bounced onstage describing the Oz interpretation of Art Deco, Regal Theatre as “Lovely inside and very ugly outside.” So true!
Billed as a kind of “looking back” I expected a trajectory of his rise to fame. Not so. Instead there were many very funny memories of his childhood as one of seven children of Nigerian parents who immigrated to the U.K. in the 60’s. Rather the looking back encompassed a few selected memories of various gigs on this current Australian tour. Tasmania (“A big village.”) and Shoalhaven (“A place to die.”) to be specific.
Amos admitted he had a fear of the ocean and was not himself a swimmer. This lead to a whimsical supposition by a friend as to why this was so. Thence to a delightful rendition of a story he had heard of the best shark deterrent. Simply punch them in the nose! The consequences being? Multiple.
Surprisingly the audience, though welcoming Amos warmly, were reticent to respond to his audience queries for participation. As someone who has enjoyed almost every past Perth gig he has played I expected a more familiar positive crowd reaction. No matter, he played it up for what it was to the full, mugging astonishment with everything, including the lack of heterosexuals, lesbians and gays in the audience. From the show of hands I wondered who actually was there!
Oscar winning film Black Panther also drew a blank. A sharply amusing characterization of the Hollywood interpretation of a black 50’s super hero, a show of hands revealed a goodly proportion of the audience had actually seen the film. Shy or what?
However he hit gold mine with a most obliging family of two parents with two sons in the front row, Ethan, 17 and Reece, 15. In the most amusing and sweetest way possible he played them to the hilt; from career aspirations to frightening technical abilities. Acknowledging their participation and saluting the hope of youth in general drew tumultuous applause.
Moving on to politics Amos covered Trump with an hilariously insincere request “To cut him some slack!” A similar family anecdote drew gasps of appreciation.
The show embraced finding the funny while fundraising for a personal cause following the death of his twin sister in palliative care last year. “I’m on a mission to raise awareness for the work of the palliative care industry and hospices,” he said. “Every city we go to, I find a local hospice or relevant charity and we raise money for that one charity during our run. Like many other people I was very unaware of the work hospices do and the palliative care industry as a whole, which is so important.”
Amos has pledged to match every dollar raised on this tour. Indeed there he was in the foyer post-show receiving donations for a children’s hospice, Hannah’s House while indulging fans in photo-ops.
Not often one can close a review with the words so clever and deeply compassionate.
2019 Perth Comedy Festival
The Story So Far
Stephen K Amos
Venue: Regal Theatre | 474 Hay St, Subiaco WA
Dates: 7 – 11 May 2019
Tickets: $42.00 – $46.90