Tom Allen embraces his ‘fabulousness’ like a peacock – though one forced to strut around a South London semi rather than a stately home.

He holds to his belief that he was always “better than everyone else” – obsessing about interiors and and table decorations rather than more boyish pursuits – yet is rooted in that most English of comedic settings: suburbia.

Sharp-suited Allen comes out all guns blazing: “So, I’m gay,” he announces, should anyone be in any doubt. It’s refreshing and, he admits empowering. It’s not political or sabre-rattling though. Allen’s jokes inhabit that peculiarly British camp comedic playground carved out by the likes of Kenneth Williams, Larry Grayson and Frankie Howard, while channelling Noel Coward.

And it is funny. Uproariously funny.

The audience are a mixed bunch – with many couples (he jokes the audience is made up of people who know him... and their boyfriends) and he takes great relish in quizzing guests in the front few rows – not in the nasty way sub-standard stand-ups do when they know their victims won’t answer back – but with real charm and empathy. He does however have digs at Didcot (“a wasteland”) and Cowley, telling someone who works in a card shop “Oh, isn’t that the rough part? What cards do you sell? ‘sorry I burgled your house’?”. An audience member’s confession that he lives in High Wycombe is deemed beyond reproach.

His peculiar phrasing and intonation is engaging, making even the humdrum sound fun. Tom lives at home with his mum and dad – and has known the people in his neighbourhood for years, which provides a rich seam of humour.

His account of the horrors of being abandoned at a children’s birthday party is painfully funny, as was his story of passing his driving test and taking his inaugural trip to Blue Water shopping shopping centre with his short-tempered dad while being tailgated by a BMW – all the time having the handbrake on. Best, though, was the story of a day out at a Sub-tropical Paradise water park in which he became entangled with his mum’s friend Joyce on the flume (when he first realised he was gay).

It’s all utterly believable – and brilliantly joyous because of that.

Tim Hughes 5/5