Simon Evans: Friendly Fire

'Simon Evans: Friendly Fire' is a misnomer. This show takes random pops at easy targets which many Fringe-goers will enjoy hearing criticised: Mitt Romney, morbid obesity, football. Evans himself is an extremely cheery, friendly comic and some of what he says is rude but his set is hardly controversial among this audience. It rattles along nicely but is never explosive.

Perhaps this is the problem: Evans is almost entirely inoffensive. We're all agreeing on everything. He does his best to disgust, with an etymology of recent excrement buzzword 'santorum' and even an exploration of the word 'felch'. Is it derived from filch? Do we care? This segment on 'novelty' in gay sex is his most edgy material, but it's not really: he's already safely got the gay contingent on side by railing against the USA's political focus on the issue of gay marriage while seriously threatening global issues are ignored. 'We're all forward-thinking people here, aren't we?' he asks. This is a Fringe audience. Of course we are.

The above sounds like a dismantling of the show, which it isn't intended to be. Personally, I enjoyed Evans' irreverent, whimsical brand of humour. It's just that with the multifarious left-wing material it felt like Evans wasn't making any effort. Every joke gave big, easy laughs but never pointed clearly towards an overall theme, something which Evans sometimes seemed to desire but which ultimately remained elusive. Essentially, with this endearing, funny comedian, it could have been so much better.

By the time Evans decided he had something more serious to say, it was already too late. With just a few minutes left he explained his reasoning behind reading Ernest Shackleton's South to his son at bedtime: the young'un should learn about struggle instead of The X Factor's fame-for-all or the mad moral messages of fairy tales. Whatever this had to do with the earlier material, I'm not entirely sure. His show is almost constantly amusing, but the frequent time-checks and the random selection of gags left this feeling like an hour-long list of Evans' Fringe-appropriate jokes. He definitely hit his mark, but the reflection upon the audience was that we were all politically and socially predictable and unreceptive to everything bar what we agreed on. The only friendly fire Evans was guilty of was patronising his adoring crowd.

Reviews by Larry Bartleet

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The Blurb

Featured on Michael McIntyre's Roadshow, Mock the Week and Radio 4. 'Sizzlingly entertaining ... Beautifully crafted devastatingly funny gags ... Deliciously haughty contempt.' (Guardian). 'Sardonic wit dripping disdain from every perfectly pronounced word' (Chortle.co.uk).