Comedy Review: Sam Simmons – Not A People Person, The Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne (18.06.16)

The idea of a straight-up solo show is non existent to Sam Simmons. Strewn with all sorts of props on stage, Not A People Person is a show full of random thoughts and solo-sketches that make not laugh at any joke in particular but simply at the absurdity of it all.

Simmons gets into a mode that is so abstract that you really wonder how he gets his ideas. There is constant chatter with a unidentified voiceover – a now familiar structure with any show of Sam Simmons – which gets confusing and absolutely tedious throughout.

There is something strangely and weirdly captivating about this show. There are laughs throughout not from the wit or jokey attitude, but in a way that makes you wonder what the heck is going on. This is obviously what Simmons is going for, but ridiculousness needs that sense of reason.

We are told that this is a story of “Francois, the man who had his hands surgically removed and replaced with reindeer hooves.” And while there is some of that line of storytelling (if you want to call it that), the performance goes so off kilter, you question why the heck we are talking to some unidentified man/woman.

Props are used – including roller skates, kangaroo paws and carpet – with an abandon of any sense. Once again this brings on the laughs not only for the jokes, but for the irrational wonder of what the heck is happening.

This is all said with a possible realisation that this is the point of the show. Sam isn’t supposed to make sense. The ridiculousness portrayed on stage is such that Sam is developing into (or already is) an outsider artist more than a simple “comedian”. The irony of it being in the Athenaeum rather than some smaller dingier pub is perplexing enough though.

Seeing Simmons perform in such a way though is intriguing to see which turn he takes next in his career. While Not A People Person is a bold show – stretching a narrative on its head – it also teeters on being pretty damn stupid, which could be the whole point of the show really.

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Not A People Person is playing tonight at the Athenaeum Theatre in Melbourne, and The Regal Theatre Perth on June 25. For more info head to his Facebook page.

The reviewer attended the show on June 17.

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