Sam Simmons has a funny body. Not funny in an "awkward in the bedroom" sense, but funny in an "I love slapstick" sense: a supple, malleable body with just a hint of Buster Keaton in his ancestry. Though the stage at the grandly titled Regent Room at the Town Hall is a pokey, claustrophobic place, Simmons uses it to full effect, filling the space with his expressive body and even more expressive props.
During his hour long show, Simmons gives us a hint of his awesome performing talent. He moves with aplomb, he sings with a brilliant operatic voice, and seems to be a fine character actor. The frustration is that these things are just hinted at. Too much of the show is spent in the valleys between these peaks, with some rather slow and ponderous moments slowing the pace.
The show is a collection of loosely intertwined sketches, songs and stories. For greater effect, the show needs to have fewer 'filler sketches', and more time spent developing the sketches that already show promise. Wandering out afterwards, I was desperate to know more about Simmons' bizarro childhood, a world obviously from another time, and possibly also from another planet.
Simmons and his director Alan Brough have worked hard to get the most out of every creative element on offer. In a Festival with plenty of one man/one mike/one spotlight shows, it's refreshing to see something different. Simmons works with a small warehouse of lovingly crafted props and shows some talent as a visual artist with his unusual reinterpretations of everyday objects. He dresses with panache, has a boppy sound track to boot, and has a face you can't help but laugh at. It's lucky he's a comedian and not a funeral director.