Tom Ballard: Since 1989
Downstairs, Belvoir St. Theatre, Sydney
Sunday, October 23rd, 2011
If sharing is caring, then it’s safe to assume that Tom Ballard cares a lot. His last show, Tom Ballard Is What He Is, gave audiences a step-by-step recounting of his coming out process as a young Warrnambool teenager and the trials and tribulations which came with it. In Since 1989, you’d think he’d want to perhaps par back on such intrinsic details of his personal life – and, yet, within the first ten minutes of the show, he is reading from a diary kept by his mother detailing his growth and development as a boy – which also includes what Tom describes as “the greatest sentence of all time.” (Same Same won’t tell you what it is, but be warned that it does involve a rather unfortunate disorder.)
Since 1989 is a roast, a therapy session and a vitriolic ride through the last two years or so all rolled into one. There is no holding back, no topic too dangerous, no name left unashamed and certainly no Thomas un-Joshed. If it’s happened to Tom in-between the writing of Tom Ballard Is What He Is and now, then consider that dirty laundry aired. None of it’s done in a malicious way, however – Ballard is quick to point out that this isn’t a “revenge show” in response to ex Josh Thomas’ wildly successful (and wildly funny) Surprise. What this material does do, however, is offer a separate perspective to what happened between the two – as well as showcase Ballard’s knack for timing, subtle punchlines and the occasionally hilarious gesture of masturbation.
If there’s one thing that you can commend Ballard for, it’s that he always comes across as the nicest dude in the world, even as he’s tripping on acid at a music festival or plotting to kill an infant with the same name as his ex-boyfriend. It’s an honesty that is not only worth respecting, but is strong enough that the audience is allowed to laugh openly with (never at) Tom as his stories, ranging from the anecdotal to the downright painful, unfurl beautifully.
It’s safe to say that this is the best material that Tom has ever written, and it’s even safer to say that he loves doing it. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of it all, however, is just how much greater it can get from this point in Ballard’s career.
Tom Ballard: Since 1989 is running from Tuesday October 25th to Sunday October 30th downstairs at the Belvoir St. Theatre, Surry Hills. For more information and tickets, visit the Belvoir St. Theatre website.