How We Don't Understand Why Sam Simmons Won Edinburgh

Spaghetti for Breakfast, Soho Theatre ★★★☆☆

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 39 months ago
How We Don't Understand Why Sam Simmons Won Edinburgh Spaghetti for Breakfast, Soho Theatre 3

A hearty portion of Sam Simmons's shtick is acting out the things that 'shit him'. Charging around a stage festooned with props, the screwball comedian demonstrates how shop assistants who make point of looking away when you type in your pin shit him; how twisted extension cords shits him; how books of cute cats which are now all dead shit him.

In the spirit of Spaghetti for Breakfast — arriving at Soho Theatre fresh from winning the top award at Edinburgh — here are the things that shit us about Sam Simmons:

  • Now this show has the highest accolade in comedy, the pressure has been piled on (tickets aren't cheap either). On numerous occasions, Simmons seems visibly upset that he hasn't brought the house to its knees.
  • Simmons has a chip on his shoulder about being 'different'. Wacky is his thing, which is fine. But there's no need to harp on about it. Towards the climax, he belts out unoriginal observations about how stand up comedy is a bloke with a mic talking about aeroplane food. Yes, but lots of it isn't.
  • Lots of Simmons's own material (the pin number thing, the extension cord thing) is observational itself. And if he's being ironic, well, it's lost on us.
  • The comedian repeatedly pulls up some poor sod onto the stage, who clearly isn't overwhelmed by the act and would probably rather be left to his beer and fond memories of seeing James Acaster's Foster's nominated show.
  • Honestly, how has James Acaster been nominated for the Foster's award the last four years and not won?

Despite all this, Simmons makes a decent clown, and there are some nice little moments (sinister cold calls from a Ferrero Rocher marketer, 'shooting up' with cornflakes) even if the belly laughs never come. You get the feeling Simmons wants to be a Marmite (or Vegemite, he's Australian) comedian — cleaving the audience into those who worship the ground he clowns on, and those who are deeply befuddled and offended. Yet Spaghetti for Breakfast is a masterclass in being different and simultaneously mediocre.

Spaghetti for Breakfast in on at Soho Theatre, 21 Dean Street, W1D 3NE until 10 October. Tickets £15-£20 (concessions £12.50-£17.50). Londonist saw this show on a complimentary ticket.

Last Updated 25 September 2015