It should be said that Sam Simmons' latest offering About the Weather, while making its appearance at the Brisbane Comedy Festival, is not a stand up show*. "A play!" Simmons at one point screams to the audience, "It's a play!" And what a play it is.
Like a panto' dreamed up by the love child of Lewis Carroll and F. Scott Fitzgerald, About the Weather whips between surreal, technicoloured day-dream sequences and biting snippets of realism at breakneck speed, at times Simmons himself even having trouble keeping up. Complete with a somewhat vindictive disembodied narrator, regular dance and song breaks inspired by early nineties advertising jingles and a collection of waving lucky cats large enough to challenge any decent Chinese takeaway shop, the show succeeds in continuously surprising the audience. If at one moment gasping for breath from laughter, they will be letting out a collective 'aw' of sympathy for their heartbroken protagonist the next, all the while being thoroughly entertained.
A cleverly written story-line pieces the performance together, though by his own in-show admission Simmons isn't really sure if anyone's going to follow it. Taken on a journey through the most diminutive moments of the single male character's existence; his regular morning bus journey (after carefully passing a suspicious looking garden gnome and greeting the friendly neighbourhood cat, Mr. Meowgi), his hatred for making small talk with the jerk at the office who just wants to brag, his struggle and, ultimately, failure to assemble an Ikea flat pack coffee table, there are may footholds of relatability provided for the audience to grip onto as they are flung from one scenario to the next. Simmons has cleverly pin-pointed these mundane moments of boredom and sometimes loneliness which are the basis of all human existence, and used them as a launch pad for the more absurd moments of the show, each extreme tempering the other perfectly.
Specialising in the surreal and championing in absurdity, Simmons' talent for theatrical story-telling shines in this show. Sam Simmons is an outstanding performer and writer and witnessing his comedy prowess in About the Weather is an opportunity not to be missed. With nearly all the remaining shows of the Brisbane Comedy Festival season sold out, it is with urgency and perhaps the luck of a waving cat that lovers of comedy should head to buy any tickets left available!
*Hopefully this will ease confusion of patrons like those who, post-show, accompanied us in the lift, discussing with many a furrowed brow just what it was that they had just witnessed (reviewer's note: it is not unlikely that Simmons would have been quite pleased with this outcome).
Brisbane Powerhouse and Token Events presents
About The Weather
Venue: Visy Theatre | Brisbane Powerhouse
Dates: Tue 20 - Sun 25 Mar 2012
Tickets: $30 – $27
Part of the Brisbane Comedy Festival 2012
MELBOURNE COMEDY FESTIVAL
Venue: Supper Room, Melbourne Town Hall
Date: Thu 29th March – Sun 22nd April (no show Mondays)
Bookings: Ticketmaster.com.au or Ph: 1300 660 013 or at the door