Simon Evans is one of those comedians who seem to be on the periphery of fame. A ‘you’ll know him when you see his face’ level of recognition, if you will. He’s been in the industry for years, achieving critical success and appearing regularly on Radio 4. However if your experience of comedy is confined to Mock the Week and the like, chances are you have never heard of him. And that’s a real shame.
This show is Fringe Magnet, and it’s the one that was acclaimed by the critics during its run last year. According to Evans the current show differs very little from the Edinburgh one, despite the world events that have taken place over the past 12 months. He says, in a disparaging way, that it’s because he can’t be bothered. I suspect that it’s just because the show didn’t need tinkering with: if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
His form of comedy is lyrical, the language of jokes tripping off his tongue like sonnets. It’s largely observational and extremely accessible – who would have thought I’d be able to agree with the experiences of a 47 year old father?
At first Evans lures us into a false sense of security with some gentle pieces about everything from magnets and catflaps to nappy rash. However by the end of the set I’m crying with laughter as he bemoans the advice in men’s health (“If I don’t masturbate five times a week I’ll get prostate cancer? They’ve turned it into another job!”) and the potential pitfalls of wearing heelies rather than trainers during anal sex. It’s a clever build up, and all the funnier because the audience have been eased into it rather than hit with the filth right from the start.
His on-stage persona is a slightly grumpy posh bloke, but even as he takes a middle class view of the people of Newcastle we never quite believe what he’s saying. We’re all in on the gag too, and somehow we don’t need a knowing wink or nudge to realise that he’s just playing, really.
This was a show delivered with polished professionalism. Evans is extremely comfortable on stage. He never wavers, and it’s impossible not to warm to him. Put it this way, there’s a reason Michael Macintyre gets him to write material for his TV shows…
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