Review by Tatum Stafford
I don’t think I’ve ever laughed harder than I did at ‘Simon David: Dead Dad Show’ last night. Held in a cosy demountable in Bristo Square, the show is filled with heart, spot-on send-ups of stand-up comedy, movement and dramatic theatre tropes, and whip-smart jokes that will catch you off guard in the best way possible.
The show starts with Simon’s rendition of a song about how he wears a skirt, and his dad never understood why. From the outset, Simon is gunning for an Olivier Award, and is desperate to pander in whatever ways he can.
From here, we dive into several sequences all designed to cleverly spin-off performance styles we’re all familiar with, including a dramatic play set in New York City in the 1980s, a series of ‘live’ TikToks, a spoof of an American stand-up comedian, and a hilarious physical theatre piece about a cheese sandwich. The undertone to all of these, and the entire show, is that Simon lost his dad in 2018 and wants to make him proud.
Without giving too much away, the audience are treated to a recording of Simon’s dad, who speaks candidly about his cancer diagnosis and worries about the future. This comes straight after one of the most bizarre and hilarious sequences in the show (which I won’t spoil here), and the juxtaposition of these moments really sums up the show – it’s a high concept, in-your-face, showy performance, which will leave you with some incredibly poignant moments.
There’s no denying Simon is an absolute star. He is incredibly witty and a captivating storyteller, which honestly made the hour fly by. His parody segments were so accurate and astute, which clearly paid off as the audience absolutely loved each one. Chris Larner directed the piece, which is incredibly slick and doesn’t waste a moment.
This show feels like a beautiful love letter to Simon’s dad, and throughout, the audience hear stories about his impact on Simon and the rest of his family, which is a really beautiful touch, and adds a lot of depth to this otherwise light performance. Basically what I’m trying to say is, he deserves an Olivier, Tony, and Pulitzer, like his show blurb hints.
If you’re at the Fringe, this is a show not to be missed. And if you’re not, make sure you follow him on Instagram at @simongayvid for some of the funniest content you’ll have in your feed.