wed 19/02/2020

Simon Evans, Soho Theatre review - intellect examined | reviews, news & interviews

Simon Evans, Soho Theatre review - intellect examined

Simon Evans, Soho Theatre review - intellect examined

Modern politics laid bare

Simon Evans believes we are ill served by modern leaders

Simon Evans, at 52, is far too young to be a grumpy old man, but he’s doing his best to prepare for the role, with this amusingly dyspeptic standup show at Soho Theatre about the ageing process, and how the evolutionary model appears to be moving backwards. According to his show Genius, things really aren’t getting better, at least in terms of human intellect and those who lead us.

He starts by talking about the perils of ageing, about his thinning hair, senior moments and losing his spectacles. So far so predictable, but Evans has a breezy conversational style and a pleasingly original take on the subject matter. He then moves on to politics – Evans is that unusual thing in comedy, someone whose views veer more to the centre than the left – although his views on Brexit and the effect on Britain would please many Remainers, of whom he is one (or would be if he had managed to get to the polling station, thereby cancelling out his Leaver dad’s vote).

To set out his thesis that we are ill served by today’s leaders – of whatever hue – Evans does a compare-and-contrast with two copies of the Guinness World Records, one he recently bought his son, stuffed with pictures and achievements such as most tweeted-about event and one from his own childhood; 1974’s was chock full of facts and words describing them, many of them having a few syllables.

Such is the present day's dislike of intellectuals, Evans says, that Alan Turing wouldn't be persecuted for his homosexuality, but his high IQ would make him deeply suspect. He also explains why Benedict Cumberbatch (who played Turing in The Imitation Game) is first choice to play an intelligent person because his eyes are far apart. This is, he says, the physical stereotype of an intellectual...

By his own admission, Evans is an intellectual snob; he says Kenneth Clark's Civilisation is infinitely better than its modern reboot Civilisations (“the extra 's' adds nothing”), but he makes a persuasive argument. This show started life at the Edinburgh Fringe, in the glorious city that was home to the Enlightenment. Truly, one can’t imagine such a thing would be possible nowadays.

The Guinness World Records section could have done with an edit, but this is an agreeable hour, and anybody who can join the dots between pornography, pubic hair, the DUP and John Stuart Mill gets my vote.

Such is the present day's dislike of intellectuals that Alan Turing wouldn't be persecuted for his homosexuality but his high IQ


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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