Review: Adam Kay’s Smutty Christmas Songs at Turner Sims Concert Hall, Southampton

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With a bauble clad tree in the corner, the piano illuminated by blue fairy lights and Adam Kay wearing a knitted jumper, the atmosphere was suitably festive. But the title of the show was a little misleading as Kay, frontman of the Amateur Transplants, stated that playing Christmas songs for the evening would get a little tedious, so the night was to become more of a ‘best of compilation’.

What Kay does is parody popular songs. Much like the London Underground parody of The Jam’s classic song for which he is best known, Kay converts the lyrics from Christmas carols to Gaga, Spandau Ballet, Queen and many more into something more lewd and crude. Originally trained as a doctor, Kay’s roots in comedy stem from his days at university where he wrote and performed medical themed spoofs, from which the Amateur Tranplants double act was born. Now performing solo, a lot of his material is about medicine, with a fan base of health care professionals to match.

Topics ranged from the innocence of making tea (always take out the spoon otherwise it will poke your face) to a Frankie Boyle level of risqué, with songs about paedophilia, Oscar Pistorius and countless profanities. On closer inspection, Kay’s ‘harmless’ Christmas jumper depicted, in his own words, “two reindeer f**king’, visually embodying the tone of the evening.

To the new ear, Kay’s two-hour set featured a gag a minute, with frequent belly laughs and numerous intakes of breath at the musical punch lines that border on ‘crossing the line’. Yet, for those who were already fans, there was very little original material in the performance. This became even more apparent as the first half of the show drew to a close when, with refreshing honesty, Kay admitted that he had no plan for the second half of the performance and would be taking requests from the audience.

This honesty continued as he read out those requests, stating in a nonchalant fashion ‘it appears I was a lot more funny nine years ago’. Despite the majority of Kay’s work being on YouTube and Spotify, hearing the songs live adds another level to his humour, which left the audience in constant hysterics.

For more events at the Turner Sims, visit their website.

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