Edinburgh Festival Fringe comedy review: Sam Simmons: Spaghetti for Breakfast, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Jay Richardson
Although he’s railing against relatable stand-up, this remains the most personal show I’ve seen Sam Simmons perform.
Affording an explicit definition of what comedy should aspire to, a manifesto of sorts, there’s also belated insight into the dark childhood spark that nurtures his oddball approach to the art form.
But it’s all contained in a typically left-field, hyper-eccentric examination of phenomenon that irk and intrigue him.
Without an obvious through-line as such, and to a backing refrain of “things that shit me”, the Australian smashes lettuce, peers through plant foliage and interrogates audience members about their choice of denim, seemingly random non-sequiturs that gradually cohere to form a collage of his insanity.
Although he’s forthright in the incumbency and hilarity of his enterprise, he does permit a few dissenting notes to creep in, most noticeably a recurring pre-recorded heckle from Josie Long and his now trademark tactic of admonishing the crowd for not giving him as much response as he’d like. Playfully juggling props, song snatches and inexplicable stretches of physical clowning, it’s not all gold by any means. But it occurs at such an irrepressible pace and with such conviction, that the glorious moments, invariably featuring the rapacious consumption of or misuse of foodstuffs, linger sharpest in the memory.
I don’t know if I enjoy the irritability that increasingly underscores Simmons’ oeuvre, treating the crowd as an adversary when they’re just curious or quietly appreciative, whether it’s feigned or genuine. But there’s no doubt that it seems to inspire him, giving him something to kick against as he continues productively unpacking the warped clutter of his psyche. Moreover, you have to admire the artistry with which he weaves it all together, all the while eloquently disguising it as the ravings of a madman.
Underbelly Potterow (Venue 358), run ended
Published in The Scotsman on 29 August 2015
Edinburgh Festivals 2015: complete coverage
• Get everything on our Festivals homepage – on desktop, mobile or tablet
• Looking for reviews? Check out the latest Scotsman reviews – or browse all the reviews ranked by star rating
• Watch all the latest videos from the #WOWwagon
• Get distracted by our Festival Blog
• Check out today’s half-price ticket deals
• Follow our social accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – and join the conversation with #WOWfest