Simon Evans: In the Money

The show is in a lecture theatre. The audience is sat as if we were a university class. The lone table at the left side of the protruding stage is draped simply in black, on it nothing but a bottle of port, and an empty glass. Someone’s trying awfully hard to smear a glaze of class over the room. There’s even light classical music gliding about the upper reaches of hearing.

As Simon Evans strides out the trappings seem rather appropriate, he’s every bit a throwback. Well-spoken, suited tastefully and with a close-cropped white beard. Where other comedians make references to pop-culture, he refers to the Classics. It’s like a Victorian explorer has just begun addressing an enraptured public, full of delighting anecdotes collected in his time travelling the ‘Dark Continent.’ He certainly speaks like one, you can see Timothy Dalton playing the role. Simply put, he’s every bit the gentlemen.

Whilst seeming like a man straight from the past, Evans slots very well into the modern comedy landscape. There’s no one quite like him. There’s plenty of audibly well brought up comedians, but none that seem to have commuted to the gig from 1892. Who’d have known that was a space that needed filling?

Evans doesn’t do too much different from other mainstream comedians, but it’s a wonderful sort of spell this all manages to cast. His show is no smarter than the average comics, but his tremendous verbosity and flowing, effortlessly long sentences give the impression it is. His absolutely wonderful voice, and it is that, wouldn’t be out of place emerging from an Edwardian general. You can just see him holding court at a packed dinner table, lit by gas lamps or candelabras.

The show is nominally about economics, which is basically just a framing device for Evans to talk eloquently about the housing market, just another layer of respectability. It’s actually a bit strange and one place where the illusion lies thin. It’s fine, and you get the feeling Evans could make just about anything funny, but he’s got as much material about having children and being married as he does about home ownership or stocks, and it makes the intriguing premise feel rather secondary.

He’s charming and witty and nothing gives away his nerves but a habit for leaning on his microphone stand, which when pointed out makes him delightfully flustered. True to his style, he uses the break in the flow to pour himself a glass of port. It’s actually unfair how good at this he is. The man radiates his own style, even more so as he ages. It’s bizarre to see how dignified someone can appear whilst making jokes.

That’s just it though, a big thick, velvety layer of style over a thin core of substance, but it’s the feeling that counts, and it certainly feels substantial.

Great. Have some wine before you see it.

★★★★

Keiran Burnett