Sam Simmons: Where Can I Win A Bear Around Here?

Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

Trying to describe a Sam Simmons show is always a tall order. In this one, the lively absurdist forgets his PIN at the cashpoint, so has to rifle through his mental filing cabinet, throwing out redundant information, in a desperate bid to remember it it.

If that seems to have some sensible internal logic, that’s before I’ve mentioned the Lego man in his stomach, a cheese and ham sandwich being toasted by mirrorball, and the gorilla porn. Actually, that last one isn’t a figment of Simmons’ deranged imagination, but is, in fact, a genuine bestial bestseller that he reads a disturbing extract from.

The backbone of Where Can I Win A Bear Around Here? is a bonkers quiz show that makes Shooting Stars look like Mastermind. A reluctant patsy is repeated dragged out of the audience and bombarded with strange questions to which there are no answers, leaving him looking dazed and confused.

Between this is a hailstorm of crazy fragmented nonsense. Snatches of inane songs and jaunty jingles, bursts of deconstructed stand-up, bizarre musings, silly walks and sillier dances. It’s a relentless rush of baffling claptrap, all performed with the energy of a nuclear meltdown.

And therein lies a flaw. This overwhelming onslaught of broken-up, meaningless snippets is very draining – so for the audience to keep their attention focussed for 70-plus minutes of this continual tirade, without anything to latch on to that makes much sense, is near-impossible. Simmons needs some sanity to balance his madness, which a confused victim dragged from the audience can never hope to provide.

Simmons, who bears a passing resemblance to Adrian Edmondson, shares the Young One’s manic, volatile energy, too, keeping the show afloat. But even his electric presence becomes too much, and he leaves too many people behind in his dash from one nugget of nonsense to the next.

That said, there are some sublimely stupid moments in all this: great gags, amazing imagery and brilliantly creative juxtaposition. But it’s all too overwhelming, and the gems tend to get lost among the glut of gibberish enveloping the confused audience.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Review date: 5 Apr 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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