Edinburgh Fringe Review – Sam Simmons: Death Of A Sailsman

I knew nothing of Sam Simmons other than the gradually accumulating stars on his poster and the hangdog expression staring back at me. Would this be a road-weary, reflective comic offering up wisecracks about failed relationships and hangovers? Because that’s where I had placed him.

I didn’t have to wait for the show to start to find out, as the hero of our piece approached me in the queue wearing neon wetsuit, a ludicrous wig and a snorkel. ‘It’s gonna get weird!’ he said, fixing me with an anticipatory grin.

Well, he wasn’t lying. An hour of complete insanity that kept the laughter up almost constantly across different parts of the room, it was pretty much unlike anything I’ve seen before. I suppose pre-ITV Harry Hill would be the closest comparison, but Hill always had an eye on a gag, whereas the laughs in Simmons’ world come from – well, sometimes it’s hard to know even yourself as your belly shakes below you. Stranded at sea on a windsurf board, Simmons converses with his subconscious in an impressively well-rehearsed back and forth conversation with his taped disembodied voice. Along the way there’s space grans, sexy seahorses, munched chap-sticks and a brilliantly played beleaguered assistant on hand to aid in the on-stage madness.
 
To try and explain any more would be pointless. See it for yourself if you get the chance.
 
****
James Rose
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