By: Simon Day
Reviewer: Simon Topping
Billed as Simon Day and Friends, this show sees Day parade four of his favourite alter-egos to an appreciative audience in an unpretentious evening of fun filled character comedy, in two halves.
Before Day even steps on stage there is a large feeling of good will towards him in the auditorium. Most of the audience are of an age to remember the performer in his pomp as one of the stalwart regulars in the 1990’s seminal TV sketch programme, The Fast Show.
Day shows no sign of lost vitality as he springs onto stage as character one, Billy Bleach; the man down the pub who thinks he knows it all. Probably the most famous and fleshed out of his ensemble, Bleach even had a very funny TV spin off of his own called Grass, which is well worth a watch.
Older, yet not too much wiser, Bleach recounts his life as a back seat footballing dad and the woes he has with his ex-wife. Some hilarious observations about children always being on their phones have the room rocking with laughter. Bleach’s quick delivery style and well crafted phrases are a winner with an audience who enjoy every moment of his verbose banter.
The next guest is Tommy Cockles; a music hall veteran who reminisces about his time in the spotlight and his rough childhood. He’s a character with a marvellous whimsy about him. His surreal flights of fantasy about fighting to be able to win and eat fruit are particularly chucklesome.
After the break Day brings on “the hardest man in prison”, Tony Beckton, a pastiche of real life prison terror Charles Bronson. Beckton tries to be terrifying but comes is a wonderfully funny and surreal person.
Day finishes with his Yorkshire poet, Geoffrey Allerton. Pitched somewhere between playwright Alan Bennett and poet Ian McMillan Day’s delivery is delightful to watch and the rousing and rather silly poem England ends the show with gales of laughter.
Day has brought together a collection of short pieces that are very funny to watch and performed with an easy charm that belies the mastery of their creation. He is a warm performer, with a good sense of mischief. The show itself is well worth a watch whether you are a newcomer to his work or already a big fan.
Reviewed on 30th September and on UK Tour