Simon Evans: Genius (4 stars)

This article is from 2017

Simon Evans: Genius

Magnificently pessimistic hour about our cultural and societal decline

Where once human civilisation had the genius of Albert Einstein, John Stuart Mill and Plato, now we have memes and 'motivational quotes about fish'. This troubles Simon Evans who, observing the modern world, doesn't like what he sees one bit and wants to get some things off his chest. After an hour in Evans' company, you'll come round to his infectious pessimism. Genius is a magnificent work that has Evans castigating our political leaders, skewering the DUP (I won't spoil his scornful put-down but it's a thing of beauty), and wondering what the hell led us to consume mindless television like Love Island in our millions.

This obsession with decline stems from Evans' own physical and mental faculties being supposedly past their sell-by date. We can take him on his word, but his ability to tell a joke is untempered. Cloaked in corduroy, he sips from a whisky glass and delivers an unrelenting deconstruction of everything that's wrong with us. No one is safe.

Genius contains two routines in particular (about Finding Nemo and the Guinness Book of Records) that have the room howling with laughter. Evans is so hilarious that you stop caring whether he's on your exact political wavelength. It feels insignificant. Genius is a formidably funny show of fantastic intellect.

Assembly George Square Studios, until 27 Aug (not 14), 8.20pm, £13–£14 (£12–£13).

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Veteran stand-up presents his most personal show to date.