Simon Evans: Genius 2.0
- Deborah Chu
- 19 August 2018
A sort-of sequel that fails to match its predecessor
Self-confessed 'intellectual snob' Simon Evans returns to the Fringe with a revamped version of his acclaimed show Genius, during which he rails against the ills of modern society and its inability to celebrate excellence. Though he's clearly as sharp as ever, a poorly paced and rambling routine ultimately undermines the ambition of his thesis.
An extended gag about potentially being murdered by his cat quickly runs out of steam, as does a key crux of his argument: a comparative examination of two editions of the Guinness Book of Records. Learning the weight of the largest Brussels sprout grown in 1974 is an interesting fact, undoubtedly, but is it funny? It certainly had the potential to be, but here Evans seems far more committed to proving his point of how much better everything was back in the days of yore than in making an audience laugh.
The present socio-political climate certainly hasn't given Evans much reason to emerge from under his dark cloud of pessimism, and a deconstruction of both the political left and right is as wonderfully ruthless as ever. Unfortunately, this time around he spends far more time punching at thin air, ham-handedly dismissing cosplay as a mental illness and thumbing his nose at the new, 'well-lit' BBC series of Civilisations. By the time he reaches his final recitation from John Stuart Mill's On Liberty, you may well be wishing for your own.
Assembly George Square Studios, until 26 Aug, 8.20pm, £13–£14 (£12–£13).