Dan Simpson: Worried Face Emoji

It's what Dan Simpson would want. The complexity and nuance of a finely wrought review, reduced to a few simple emojis. I'm going for: 'thumbs up' + 'slightly smiling face'.

An enjoyable hour in the company of a top poet

I had a nice time at Worried Face Emoji, where Simpson's gentle stand-up poetry lectures on the declining relevance of the written word in the face of the rise of the emoji. Over an enjoyable hour, Simpson takes the audience on a journey, which includes Jodie Foster floating in space, Lord Byron's dick pics, and an ode to the microwave, closing with a relaxing and funny guided meditation.

Simpson is a poet, and his poems are the strongest element of this show. His univocalic poem (only using the vowel "a") is cracking; the emoji poem at the end is cleverly done; and the 'art lads night out' is a neat exploration of an absurd scenario.

The final guided meditation was also a highlight, with Simpson and his tech support skewering this over-earnest spiritual practice with charm and playfulness.

I was left wanting more poetry. The conceit of the show was clear from the outset, yet Simpson spent quite a lot of time on the 'lecture' element, explaining the link between the poems and the theme, expounding his views on the state of the English language and house prices for millennials. At times it felt like the powerpoint presentation got in the way of his delivery. After an amusing emotional graph of the show by way of introduction, the slides added little to the performance.

If you want to spend an enjoyable hour in the company of a top poet as they explore one of the oddest and most important cultural communication tools of modern times, then Dan Simpson is your man. Catch him underground in the cosy Banquet Hall at Banshee Labyrinth from 18:40 every day, August 16-26th.

Reviews by Jim Ralley

Gilded Balloon Teviot


Underbelly, Cowgate

Paul Williams: Santa Fe

Underbelly, Bristo Square

Stuart Bowden: Our Molecules

Heroes @ Bob's BlundaBus

Robin Clyfan: The Sea Is Big Enough to Take It

C venues – C royale

A Hero of Our Time


Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

If brevity is the soul of wit, then emoji is the funniest language on the planet. Or it should be. Stand-up poet Dan Simpson taps into the ideograms and idiocy of our modern anxieties with a little 'wordplay alchemy' (FringeReview.co.uk). 'Charmingly geeky' (Scotsman). Glastonbury and BBC regular returns to the Fringe with whip-smart words and playful performance. Praise for previous Fringe shows: 'The perfect antidote to the perpetual screen-burn of our internet-obsessed age' (Scotsman). 'A talented wordsmith… poetry for the selfie generation' (WestEndWilma.com).

Most Popular See More

Life of Pi

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Dear Evan Hansen

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Heathers The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Blithe Spirit

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets