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

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Performances

Location

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).