Review: Simon Evans – In The Money

[First published on Quays News 18/02/16]

SIMON EVANS brought his latest stand up show ‘In The Money’ to the Lowry’s Quays Theatre last night.

Evans in his new tour attempts to conjure up humour from the conundrum that is economics. His aim, in addition to creating laughter, is to give the mature audience he seems to attract advice in what he declares to be a subject that no one entirely understands.

Prior to the interval however, Evans, besides explaining that even the experts don’t understand the economy, leaves his chosen theme largely untouched. He arrows off from the economy to talk about how it seems that we all get ripped off these days. In his disdained tone he then despairs at his poor old father’s past attempts at gardening along with the argument that organic veg is superior in taste. His material is then derived from his dog and his son, plus the phrase ‘polish a turd’ is had fun with, all in what turned out to be the lighter, more easily digestible part of the show.

His delivery during these more orthodox comedy subjects has a distinct and enjoyable rhythm. Evans raises a distaste for something, and then undercuts it with a one liner that’s always witty and edgy. It’s his middle-class condescending persona that really makes the jokes work, cracking his audience up repeatedly.

Striding out after the interval, Evans begins the second half of the show by chatting to his front row. Asking for names and occupations, Evans doesn’t really push the boat out in his chat but always manages to get a titter with his off the cuff responses. Evans admits himself that he’s not a social being, recognising that talking to the front row is not a strength of his, nevertheless, the two way conversation breaks the show up well.

After the knock about joking with individual audience members, Evans makes a start to his financial advice, the buzzword – investment. Property is first up on Evans’ agenda, as he takes us through his personal housing history. Do’s and don’ts, along with references to property shows are knitted together in what feels like a lecture rather than a stand-up routine. The odd clever remark earns a laugh, particularly when dealing with the economic crash of 2008, but looking round, I wouldn’t have been surprised if pens and paper sprung out to furiously note down Evans’ insights.

Evans mentions more investment wrong turns before going onto the two things, in his view, that are fool proof investments, them being cigarettes and alcohol. Acting almost like a salesman, he puts forward an argument that’s hard to turn down. It’s this alcohol routine that creates the most laughter of the night. Due to its relatability, it’s a subject that’s flogged by comedians in a range of ways, but in this show Evans manages to find a different angle. It ensures he finishes his show strongly.

Evans has a distinctive style to his performance. Condescending with his wit, but never so much to degrade his audience. In this show he deals with a wealth of dense material that only a reader of the Financial Times could follow in its entirety. Despite this, In The Money creates hearty laughter in bursts, with Evans revelling in a subject he knows well.

3

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