REVIEW: Simon Amstell, City Hall

Simon Amstell  2012.
Simon Amstell 2012.
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A PROBLEM shared is a problem halved, as the old saying goes, and Simon Amstell was determined to air the full details of his neuroses at Sheffield City Hall.

The bespectacled, wiry-framed comedian’s hour-long show, titled Numb, was a concisely written set that dwelled upon his ‘inability to form connections’ in life.

He explained the idea for the piece was sparked by attending a painfully cool party where he felt hampered by his teetotal, vegan, drug-free lifestyle.

This led on to some very funny observations about living alone - “I found myself recently clutching my cat to my chest and saying ‘We’re alright, aren’t we?’” - and darkly amusing comments on a Galaxy ad campaign which urges buyers to hide chocolate.

“They’re encouraging eating disorders,” he remarked.

“Hide it, eat it, throw it up and buy another one.”

Admittedly, even with the promotional push from his BBC Two sitcom Grandma’s House, the venue was far from full.

Amstell also had repeated exchanges with a huge group of beer-swilling blokes on a stag do who, bizarrely, had chosen his gig for their evening’s entertainment.

“I think I’ve been pretty good, but there have been a few problem areas,” he said at the conclusion.

It’s unclear whether all of his tales of modern-day alienation are truly believable - but the audience felt all the better for him sharing them.

Richard Blackledge