Tom Knowles – Allergic to Love

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5 October, Hastings Function Centre
Fringe in the ‘Stings 2017

Tom Knowles and his band’s show Allergic to Love – curse of the 80s far exceeded any expectations I could have thought up for an 80s inspired rock opera. I was picturing 80s song covers, heavy gimmick and spandex. I found spandex, sure, leopard print even. What I also encountered was a clever and high energy, multi-genre comedy, where the classic characters of a comedy of manners meet just enough fumbling and farce to keep humble – and not reach too far into the excessiveness of the 80s. With hilarious calamity, the band plays out the story of a man whose allergy to love makes him break out – in 80s-style rock songs and ballads. Oh, and just casually, some Shakespeare thrown in for good measure and a well-timed indulgent soliloquy. The high energy of the performers, and their incredible musicianship brings a screaming top note to the act, being at once the element that ties it all together, and the cherry on top. It’s easy to see why this group has received accolade and awards, including traveling to the San Diego Fringe Festival. They’re rad. And I’m not just saying that because I was chosen out of the audience to have a cheeky wee dance on the lit-up dancefloor. They are actually totally rad.

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