Since I last saw Simon David on stage in his 2018 Edinburgh Fringe debut, Virgin, much has happened in his personal life. Not only has he lost his cherry, but also his father. Dad was diagnosed with cancer and since died, but before he passed he performed his own one-man show Not Long Now simply because there were things he wanted to say before he went.
This cathartic experience packs bathos as an antidote to sentimentality.
Over My Dad’s Body is David’s love letter to his father. A narrative of the frequent trips up to his childhood home in Newcastle as the milestones of Hugh Evans’ final months on Earth are played out including clips from Dad’s monologue that genuinely connect you with the man David so clearly adored.
David frames this story in the camp, “vacuous” (his words) froth of his own performance style, claiming his nonsense can never compare to the pure poetry his father delivered in that final swan song. Opening the show wearing a flared silver pant suit and a mesh vest while singing a catchy production number entitled I’m Gay, there’s little doubt of David’s flamboyance, although it does feel that he’s slightly over-emphasising that aspect as a deliberate juxtaposition to his father’s story; after all, David wrote this show and there’s plenty of poignancy in his own words.
Much of the humour is self-deprecating, although one of the best barbs is saved for a reviewer from Fest who dropped a two-star critique on him for Virgin; but embracing the old adage When Live Gives You Lemons, David makes the best of a poor hand. And that’s possibly what Over My Dad’s Body is all about. Dealing with the grieving in a way only David can; whether singing a camp song at the keyboard or jazz hands in a sparkly dress, this cathartic experience packs bathos as an antidote to sentimentality.