3 Stars

★★★ Off-Kilter Comedy

Charlotte Pegram reviews Sam Simmons at Assembly, Edinburgh

Winner of the 2015 Edinburgh Fosters Comedy Award, Sam Simmons has had his talents praised to the extent that last year’s critics told him he could read out the phone book and he would still be funny. Simmons took them at their word and this year presents A-K (the first half of the phone book) and duly spends the first part of the show reading from it; it was funny.

The rest of the show is a little less easy to judge. There are lots of references to his new baby daughter, some verging on the grotesque in their miniscule details of nappy changing, some showing only a thinly veiled mockery of his new found feminist side now that he is raising a ‘woman of the future’, some observational comedy was nearly genuine until it landed in another nipple joke.

The rest of the show meandered from one odd topic to another. Simmons is decidedly zany but quite a lot of his material just wasn’t getting the laughs he was expecting. He ended up skipping chunks of it and berating the audience instead, which did get some laughs. I want to think that he was jet-lagged (this was his first show after flying in from Oz) and that’s why the show wasn’t holding together as well as expected. When he finally ditched the show and just let the audience ask him questions (bad idea, the audience just wanted him to sign their t-shirts) one woman asked, “what’s the best joke from your 2015 show?” Not an intended heckle but a great one nonetheless, and perhaps indicating that this isn’t going to be an award winning year for Simmons.

A far from perfect first night for Sam Simmons. Watch this space for updates as the Fringe continues.

Sam Simmons performs A-K at Assembly George Square Studios until August 27th.

Categories: 3 Stars, review

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