Review: Simon Amstell, Richmond Theatre, London

As Simon Amstell’s To Be Free stand-up show touched down in Richmond Theatre, we sent Gavin Lloyd along to get his fix of hilarious, melancholic-tinged humour. Here’s what he thought…

Simon Amstell To Be Free 2015

His mischievous and fearless nature is ever present

Simon Amstell caught most people’s attention through being the host of Popworld and Nevermind The Buzzcocks, and while he has moved on from the world of pop stars, it’s immediately apparent that some of the traits that first got him noticed are ever present in his stand-up show.

The mischievous streak that saw the likes of The Kooks’ Luke Pritchard and The Ordinary Boys’ Preston walk out of their respective shows is still a part of the person he is today. With stories about getting told off at interviews, some of his more edgier jokes and the way he engages in conversation with sour-faced audience members who aren’t laughing, proves that Simon will still say what he wants, when he wants.

The show gets you thinking about your own life

The show centres around Simon’s desire to be free and his constant battles with ego. While it leads to plenty of tongue-in-cheek jokes about his own importance, it largely acts as a side to his own exploration through life and trying to make sense of everything. This leads to a stand-up show that goes a lot deeper than your average person telling jokes, with plenty you can relate to on a personal level, and question where your own life is heading.

His storytelling approach is as endearing as it is hilarious

Simon’s stand-up approach has long been about recalling stories of things that have happened to himself, and pointing fun at the various uncomfortable situations he has found himself in. This time around he recalls Buddhist retreats, romantic entanglements with the friend of an ex, and the struggles between wanting a loving relationship or a sex dungeon. The autobiographical slant to his show, and his brilliant recalling of these tales is what makes Simon such a unique talent as a comedian.

Will Simon ever be truly happy?

At one point during the show, Simon muses that he may never be happy, which is a startling realisation for nearly all of us. Is it ever possible to be truly content? Is there ever going to be a point where we’re free from wanting more, be it personal, professional or frivolous? Regardless of whether Simon will ever be truly happy himself, the smile that is present during the crowd’s warm response suggests he is in a good place. What’s more, if there is something he can be happy about, it’s making so many people laugh, enjoy themselves and have a thoroughly great night at his latest stand up show.

Simon Amstell – To Be Free runs until 26 March at London’s O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, with shows in Cornwall, Guildford, Poole and more. Get full dates and ticket details