Writer/Performer: Simon Evans
Reviewer: Simon Topping
With Victorian sideburns and a tweed jacket, Simon Evans enters stage embodying his eccentric ideals. Evans is in transition from middle to old age and railing against the dumbing down of society; it is a position which he feels duty bound to adopt in a thought-provoking friendly, yet unapologetically curmudgeonly way.
Playing to a sold out show on home ground, Genius expounds the myth that we can be anything and do anything in a modern world. Everyone is not created equal, it has never been so. It is a perfomance where Evans owns his personal intellectual snobbery and revels in it.
Only being 53, Evans is not really old enough to enhabit grumpy old man territory and laments the passing of the late, great Terry Wogan as the champion of the aged. His cultivated persona, however, would not look out of place sat next to Phileas Fogg in the stuffy environs of the Reform club in Jules Verne’s globe trotting novel, Around the World in Eighty Days. It is a fabulous comedic persona that has the heaving Brighton Komedia consistenly rocking with gentle laugter.
Evans draws the audience in with his refined use of language and his deft way of weaving and spinning a story to perfection. Talking of his forgetful nature, walking up and down stairs for something long lost in his memory is turned into a saga of epic proportions.
Refraining from dumbing down the gathering, Evans comedy references include John Stuart Mill, Ruskin and Kenneth Clarke’s seminal television series, Civilisation; he looks to elevate and stimulate in equal measure and the crowd are not disappointed. In this vein, Evans talks of a beguiling, educational and hilarious remake of what Pixar classic, Finding Nemo should have been, if the strict laws of nature where adhered to and if it was shown in a more documentary style.
In the final section of the show Evans artfully uses the 1973 Guinness Book Of Records from his childhood and the edition given to his son last Christmas to chart the decay of society and intellect thought; The first book crammed full of antiquated facts, figures and complex, challenging language, where as the latter is a flimsy corporate pamphlet of brash colour and bland social media comentary (style over substance rather than the documentation of real achievements).
This is a stand up show that unashamedly celebrates intellegence should be rejoiced for it. Evans lifts the room with his very own style of grumpy joy which leaves the audience uplifted and ready to face the dark, cold night with a smile.
Reviewed on 26 November 2018 | Image: Contributed