Sam Simmons - About the Weather
Noisy ‘play’ fails to do Aussie comic justice
This article is from 2012.
Imagine a shouty hybrid of the horror movie Videodrome and that creepy old record ‘Sparky’s Magic Piano’ and you have a fairly accurate idea of Sam Simmons’ play-within-a-Fringe-comedy, About the Weather. ‘It’s going to be weird for an hour,’ roars the Aussie comedian and radio presenter at the start. And while the scenario that unfolds is undeniably bizarre, it’s also shambolic, repetitive and shrill, all the more frustrating because there are odd moments of brilliance that leave you suspecting the former zookeeper’s Fringe show isn’t doing his comedic talents justice.
The conceit here is that Simmons’ character, a moustachioed loser everyman, ground down by life, is being conducted through his day by a narrator whose voice is first heard inside his radio. After waking, he feeds his cat ‘Mr Meowgi’ (geddit?), attempts to assemble IKEA flat-pack furniture and ogles his ‘bus crush’ on the way to work.
When the radio voice says, ‘I can make you do anything I want’, this leads to some unsolicited audience interaction, including throwing shoes, devouring a bunch of flowers and straddling a young man while spinning round in an office chair. Much is made of the contrast between Simmons’ character’s appearance (described as looking like a ‘dodgy geography teacher’) and his cheesy music taste, which includes Salt’n’Pepa, the Spin Doctors and Warren G.
All of this would be much funnier if Simmons did more than yell, parrot-fashion, the radio announcer’s instructions, while charging around the stage like an enraged moose. A repeated pastiche of the Gillette advert quickly gets old, and only a brief diversion into rapid-fire, ranty stand-up shows how intelligent and inventive a comedian Simmons can be. As things stood, when the character began slapping slices of boiled ham onto his face I was half-hoping a hungry Mr Meowgi would fly at him, claws bared.
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