Reviewer: Glen Pearce
Entertainment is often described as Marmite – love it or hate it – but rarely is it as divisive as Sam Simmons’ absurdist comedy Spaghetti for Breakfast.
Simmons warns audiences pre-show that what he is about to present is weird and frequently comments throughout the show that this gig, in a nearly 100-year-old cinema built onto the back of a 19th Century store in the genteel resort of Aldeburgh, is a tough gig.
And it’s true, it leaves the audience at polar extremes. Those who love it, really love it, the rest are left bemused, confused and somewhat, it has to be said, bored for the hour. A couple leave, others sit in polite, arms crossed indifference, while those around them laugh riotously.
Absurdist comedy is a difficult genre, there is a wafer-thin line between fun and stupidity. The premise here is good, a look at the stupid things in life that annoy Simmons. Cold callers, knotted extension cords, self-righteous health food fanatics, all potentials for comic gold but Simmonds doesn’t do relational comedy, he’s more into props and the absurd. Smashing two iceberg lettuces into pieces and pouring Rice Crispies over your head may seem fun in a Student Union bar but the same type of humour stretched out over an hour soon begins to grow tiresome.
There’s glimmers of hope with nuggets of nicely observed comedy around the absurdity of life but they are so swamped with the obsession with being ‘weird’ that the impact is lost. It’s hard to know what Simmons’ aim is here, are we supposed to laugh at him or with him? It’s a brave move to set out to alienate a section of your audience and a move here, in this setting at least, that falls flat. A disappointing and worryingly unfunny hour of ‘comedy’.