Is He a Bit Simon Jay?

I’ve never actually met Simon Jay. It’s a pity really. But I’ve met his mother, wife, sister, vicar and work colleagues. All in all, I’ve met over twenty people who influenced his life one way or another. I’ve even met the mortician who performed an autopsy on Simon. So I do know a thing or two about him. Actually I know more about Simon Jay than he does, because I know the dark secret that would have changed his life completely.

I really love a good story and this is one of the best I’ve heard in a while.

I really love a good story. And this is one of the best I’ve heard in a while. It was a stroke of genius to tell the story of Simon Jay through people he encounters in his life. Spanning nine decades from his death back to his birth, this unique one-man play combines the best features of character comedy and narrative drama in deliciously bizarre satire. A lot of thought has gone into the play as it has been under development for a number of years and it really shows.

Simon Jay, the actor, (I know it’s all a bit confusing) plays all parts singlehandedly. This is obviously very physical theatre. The intelligent use of space, props and improv elements keeps the momentum going throughout the show. With a clap of hands, he instantly transforms into another character, making it seem effortless. The acting is very up close and personal. Even so that I was actually proposed by one of the characters during the play!

I was truly mesmerised by the characters brought in front of us. My favourites included the jailbird mom Linda, who smuggled drugs inside a teddy bear, the enigmatic hypnotherapist Dr. Strepsils, the random guy at the pub who ranted about alien anal probes and Lee, the spy/pathological liar at the job centre. The female characters in the story were unbelievably well acted.

As an actor, Simon Jay is very likeable. There was something very Stephen Fry-ish about his style and characters. Even though there were only a handful of us in the audience, he still gave the performance his all. I certainly got my money’s worth. In fact, more than that: the show is free and he drew a caricature of me, which I expect to be worth quite a lot when he becomes famous. So do go see this play and spread the word.

Reviews by Johanna Makelainen

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Performances

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The Blurb

Spanning 9 decades and dozens of characters, experience the funny, darkly disturbed and surreal life of Simon Rueben Jay (1931-2014), from his death, to his birth - A tragic tale of a life not lived as seen from the people who got in the way.

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