"Are you not entertained?" Sam Simmons asks a la Gladiator, atop a stool of Swedish design. Velcro shoes, biscuit crumbs, petals and cat paraphernalia lay strewn across the stage, the audience applauding the comic's pandemonium. What manner of carnage has unfolded this evening?
Simmons' About The Weather revolves around a wholly uninspiring man, habitually bumbling his way through life. Simmons lays bare his psychological sanctum, building a thorough cross-section of a character shy, socially awkward, unlucky in love and, yet, strangely passionate. It's left unclear if 'the Man' is afflicted in some way or simply quirky, but either way, his oddball behaviour drives the entire show. Of course, Simmons creation is hilarious.
About The Weather has no right to be so brilliant. The Man's story is utterly simplistic, his accomplishments few, his growth minimal at best. Regardless, Simmons constructs an electrifying, off-the-wall epic both entertaining and ultimately memorable. The sheer effort that goes into this production, both on and off the stage, is commendable. Simmons - sans an ensemble cast outside of an omnipotent narrator - sweats profusely for his audience in bringing his tale to life.
Speaking of, here's one word of caution: if you're not one for audience participation, do your utmost to avoid the first three to five rows. Simmons isn't out to pick on anyone, as such, but calls upon unsuspecting punters to enrich the show, with hilarious results. It's all part of the fun.
Simmons' theatre captures the best of comics Peter Serafinowicz and Rowan Atkinson, achieving a happy middle in comedic style - a huge compliment, certainly, but its due. The clever and fantastically farcical About The Weather is marked by its absurdist detours, designed to boggle and ultimately thrill. You won't know what hit you. In short, a unique triumph.