Review: Adam Rowe @ The Lowry, Salford

Adam Rowe hosted an eventful night of comedy with a measured performance that carried a serious message about how he felt his current girlfriend wasn’t “the one”.

At beginning of the evening, the auditorium at The Lowry was completely jam-packed.

All of the seats had been taken. Confused and panicked audience members were queued up by the entrance wondering where they were going to sit until staff eventually began lining each side of the stage with seats.

When Rowe finally came out, he quipped that they had overbooked the venue and it wasn’t actually legal – so the audience members on each side of the stage were all technically “illegals”.

What followed was a raucous half-hour of improvised crowd work from the millennial comedian – a talent he’s known for on his viral online videos. He started out on a self-deprecating note, asking which audience members had just come along to the show because they had nothing else to do – then honing in on his unsuspecting victims.

The skill of a good comic is to have banter with the audience, but keep it on a friendly level. Rowe finds the right balance of teasing – a lesser comic would have picked on his audience members.

Dredging out the mirth with ease, he spoke to various couples – quizzing them about each other, putting them on the ropes.

There was a couple reigniting an old relationship, after she had been unceremoniously “fucked-off” a couple of years ago. The funny-man invited himself to another couple’s wedding, after the groom had been mugging off scousers under his breath. There was same-sex couple that he virtually interrogated, testing out how much they knew each other.

Support act Brennan Reece gave an exuberant performance – he also integrated crowd work in to his performance. It’s a thankless task, being the support, but he performed admirably.

The topic of relationships is a significant part of Rowe’s act. He previously told MM that he wanted to dispense with the topic matter after this show so that he didn’t gain a reputation as the “boyfriend comedian”.

The reason for this is evident as he labours the point that his current girlfriend is not “the one” when he formally starts his 2018 Edinburgh show Undeniable, in the second half of the event. He makes it clear that he loves her dearly, but analyses reasons why they aren’t compatible.

She doesn’t drink. Rowe comes from alcoholic (and functioning alcoholic) parents. He can’t count on any sympathy from her when he’s in the miserable depths of a hangover – something she has never experienced.

Her more innocent middle-class upbringing leads to her to naively egging him on to get in to fights with a drug dealer and their crazy Russian neighbours.

Unfortunately, large sections of his routine can be found online in his previous performances but these parts are still enjoyable as he has elaborated on various bits, incorporating new jokes – and it flows with the narrative that the Liverpudlian has created.

Rowe has a phlegmatic quality that is unwavering when it comes to delivering his more serious message to the audience that we won’t always necessarily find “the one” but there are thousands of compatible people for us out there.

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