Adam Wade from New Hampshire

Adam Wade recalls his elementary school "Space Month" on stage before a rudimentary drawing of astronauts.

By Andrew Andrews

In case you haven’t noticed, storytelling has been the next big thing for, like, a decade now. Thanks to shows such as The Moth, what is perhaps the world’s oldest art form has been revived as a “civilized” alternative to stand-up comedy and improv shows, with countless urbanites signing up for classes in search of fame, a creative outlet or simply a way to make new friends.

That said, storytelling does remain an art form, and although there is certainly a formula to a compelling story, some artists are more talented than others. Take, for example, Adam Wade: not only a purveyor of storytelling classes himself, but winner of the above-mentioned Moth’s StorySlam competition a record-holding twenty times. With the kind of quirky modesty that can only come from growing up in New Hampshire, Adam recalls, constructs, embellishes and delivers memories—mostly about his awkward childhood—with the sort of flawed perfection that draws you into every tale to the point that you feel like you’re experiencing the narrated event first-hand.

In tonight’s show, Adam recounted a handful of heartwarming events from his grade school days: the time an errant wasp saved him from punishment when he pushed the boundaries of being teacher’s pet a little too far; the night he became the Keith Moon of the New Hampshire bar mitzvah circuit; the embarrassment a teenage boy experiences (and causes) by befriending a bus driver. Between each perfectly-executed story, Adam pauses before a projected image that serves as cover art for the following tale, with an expression on his face that suggests he might break out in tears at any moment over the emotions with which each memory is charged.

Adam opens each show with a story by a guest speaker, and Scott Gawlicki started things off with a fun tale about sneaking into a Miles Davis concert, only to have to leave again for an emergency trip to the bathroom. If you’re ever thinking of breaking the law, people, be sure to empty your bladder beforehand.

It’s true that you can listen to some of the best stories online or on the radio (The Moth makes it easy with both a podcast and a weekly PRX radio hour), but to really appreciate storytelling, you have to see the gestures and facial expressions of the delivery; you must sit in the audience and share the tension of the people surrounding you. That’s why hundreds of people wait impatiently at their computer keyboards for tickets for a StorySlam to go on sale, only to sell out a short few minutes later. But there’s an easier way: just show up at the Adam Wade from New Hampshire show and snag one of the available seats before the word gets around and the lines form out the door. You’re pretty much guaranteed a great evening of heartwarming stories, full of schadenfreude laughs and the occasional moment being on the verge of tears. In other words: a night of storytelling from a true expert in the field. 4

Andrew Andrews attended Adam Wade from New Hampshire at Kraine Theater in New York on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 @ 7:00pm to write this review.