Review: Tom Stade: You’re Welcome!
There aren’t many places you can go to hear stories ranging from an afternoon watching Cash in the Attic to things getting a bit frisky, a hot tub with The Dali Lama and Kanye West at Glastonbury. If, however, this broad spectrum matches your interests; Tom Stade’s: You’re Welcome! Is the show for you.
A brief set from Nick Dixon kicks the evening off. Despite a slightly shaky start, not unusual for a support act, Dixon found his rhythm and won the audience over eventually. The highlight of his time on stage was a well-crafted piece about Nazi salutes of all things.
With the audience nicely warmed up and feeling the drink stocking, bladder emptying results of a generous interval, Tom Stade emerges, dressed like a slightly confused cowboy, minus the hat.
What then follows is an absolute masterclass from the Canadian comedian. Stade first got the audience on side by referencing a couple of well-known local attractions: Preston Park and Butterfly World, both of which received a number of callbacks over the course of his set.
After raising some laughs and ticking the nostalgia box of everyone in the room who had ever been on a primary school trip, Stade, in his usual fashion, set about interacting with the audience.
One of his targets was a 16-year-old boy whose youth gave Stade queue to make a number of crude sexual references. While this may have gone down badly with certain sections of society, Stade’s audience knew what to expect and knew what they were there for, so each line right down to the mastabatory gesture was met with roars of laughter.
The lad’s family were also in line to receive some treatment, as was a man whose eyesight was questioned as well when he joined in, and it became apparent Stade was actually trying to talk to someone a few seats along and in the row in front.
Aside from just merely making the show a bit more personal for some of the audience, this interaction did have a point. As with his other shows, You’re Welcome! was based around a series of anecdotes Stade delivered almost directly to his participants.
From tales of him growing up in a small Canadian town to some awkward questions about Pete Townshend’s hard drive, Stade bounced almost everything off of his chosen audience members. This unique part of Stade’s style worked extremely well and gave him a chance to display his quick wit, alongside his pre-prepared material, at several points throughout the evening.
It also made the show unique. Never mind going to see Tom Stade once every year or so, there’s an argument for going to see him several times on the same tour.
Not only did I bump into a couple in the lobby that had also caught this tour in Liverpool; I also realised about halfway through that I’d seen it myself at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe. The amount of new content in what should by rights be exactly the same show, coupled with the fact I was just as entertained now as I was back then, says a lot about Stade’s performances.
Stade is not for the easily offended and, despite touching on things like the refugee crisis and the meaning of Britishness and citizenship, he does not have some big underlying political rhetoric like some comedians (I’m looking at you Frankie Boyle) but that’s not a bad thing.
In terms of entertainment, which is comedy’s key purpose after all, he does his job superbly. For that reason, I cannot recommend Tom Stade: You’re Welcome highly enough. Go see it, forget you’ve saw it then for God’s sake see it again.