Tom Ballard @ Assembly, George Square

A pitch perfect and political sophomore hour from Australian stand-up Tom Ballard

Review by Ben Venables | 29 Aug 2016

One year ago, in the same room, Tom Ballard found himself up for an award nomination. This year exactly the same thing has happened and although he plays on the idea his career is already levelling out, The World Keeps on Happening is a jump in quality from his debut, the newcomer-nominated Taxis and Rainbows and Hatred.

This is partly because he seems to give this show a touch more oomph. It sneaks up on us, but several times the performance becomes quite oratory in delivery, nicely easing back before building up to another crescendo. This is especially the case as he works up from a point on homophobia to the distressed and shrivelled genitalia of media moguls and royals.

His delivery suits his subject matter, which seems to leave no political stone unturned. He tackles subjects individually but also leaves us with a sense of the confluence of global economics, immigration, terrorism and the relentless rise of the far-right – and that list is not exhaustive. Then again, he sneaks the big ideas on us too. It's a show that raises as much as a smile about Ballard buying Justin Bieber's latest album as it does for the tub thumping, but incisive, political commentary.

Tom Ballard – The World Keeps Happening, Assembly George Square Studios (Five), 3-28 Aug (not 15), 9:15 pm, £7-12.