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Simons Evans: Have We Met? Assembly Rooms, Bijou

If younger comedians are spending their Edinburgh Fringe comedy hour looking back on their lives to date, why shouldn’t older ones? After all, That Pandemic gave people a chance to pause and reflect. This hour-long run-through of memorable moments in Simon Evans’ life and career didn’t seem to have an overarching theme. Unless, that is, ‘I’ve had a good innings thus far, and while I may not be one of the household celebrity names that people I used to write jokes for have become, I still have much to be grateful for’ can be considered a theme.

Simons Evans: Have We Met?He says his memory is starting to fail him, going upstairs only to forget what it was he went upstairs for. Long-term memory, however, remains intact: the act begins with a wig and a hark back to 1997, when, to misquote a chart music tune from the time, ‘things could only get better’, the economy was in good shape, and all the rest of it. The show’s title comes from something a former boss of Evans used to write on leaving cards – that is, after wishing someone all the very best for the future and so on, he would write as a postscript, “Have we met?

As in his previous Fringe shows – well, some of them, anyway (I haven’t seen them all) there are statistics and graphs to back up what he’s talking about, but it’s just the one slide this time, displaying the results of a recent health test. He has such low testosterone levels that he qualifies to participate in women’s weightlifting at the Olympic Games. Or so he says: I neither have the interest nor the inclination to fact-check that.

The thing about having seen Evans at the Fringe before is that I’m aware a fair bit of content in this show has been recycled or reused or repurposed. There’s a truncated version of a fascinating previous show about his ancestry, for example. Perhaps that’s all part of the ‘losing my memory’ act. Perhaps I’m being too generous. The audience, however, lapped it all up, and in the end, if people are laughing heartily during a comedy hour, maybe it doesn’t really matter if this is largely a compilation of previous stories and jokes cobbled together and presented as the latest in a long line of Fringe shows. At least it ends with brand-new material.

3 Star Review

Review by Chris Omaweng

This may not be the world’s greatest press release but let’s be honest, it’s a wonder it’s getting written at all.

The fragmentation and disintegration of memory is inevitable as one gets ever deeper into middle age. Simon Evans, 58 by the time he emerges into the (Spiegel) tent of mirrors this year, and determined never to emerge into what lies beyond, has been mining that seam for some years now. His endless migrations up and down the stairs and through the caverns of his own mind in pursuit of elusive quarries have defined his recent work as much as his anthropological analysis of the Geordies and the Welsh did twenty years ago.

And a failing memory can be a blessing when we have so much we’d like to quietly forget.

SIMON EVANS
Have We Met?
Assembly Rooms, Bijou
3rd -27th (not 14th) August 2023
https://www.edfringe.com/

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