Reviewer: Dave Cunningham
According to tradition the role of Court Jesters was to speak truth to power- to puncture the pretensions of the powerful. Simon Evans, on the other hand, prefers to direct his scorn at those who do not share his right-wing views or cultural aspirations.
In The Money opens with Evans claiming to have made the transition from comedian to personal financial advisor; after all jokes are getting harder to write and he prefers to engage with economics other than in the role of victim. While In The Money does not leave you feeling short changed Evans is certainly being economical with the truth.
The beginning is promising with Evans using the theory of supply and demand to explain the shortage of nurses. Evans, however, practices what he preaches and his parsimony is apparent in the re-cycling of older material during the first Act. Several of the gags are over-familiar and dated–one has lost count of the number of comedians pointing out that Alanis Morissette does not understand the meaning of irony or that John Lennon singing about foregoing possession is actually ironic.
Evans returns to the economic theme in Act Two. He follows the pattern set by satirists in making outrageous statements to provoke a reaction. The investment advice is filtered through the right-wing persona that Evans adopts. Thus the investments he promotes are in tobacco and alcohol reasoning that use of such products is of benefit to wider society as it generates tax revenue and smokers and drinkers tend to die before they are old enough to qualify for a pension. He is, however, quick to distance himself from any truly controversial remarks by identifying the original source of the comment that, while smoking during pregnancy might cause smaller babies, some women might be happier with that result.
Evans does not seem comfortable interacting with the audience. The banter does not come easy although he strikes lucky with one patron whose work as a pre-school teacher offers the chance to ask when she will become an actual school teacher.
As a show about economics In The Money disappoints lacking the insight or even anger that one might hope from such a provocative topic. The show is worth catching, however, for the polished script and excellent delivery. All of the jokes are buffed to a high sheen with excellent turns of phrase and Evans is the master of the loaded pause leading up to the punchline.
Reviewed 17th February 2016