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Simon Evans review: he teases out ripples of appreciation but the slow-burn is ultimately rewarding

PUBLISHED: 13:26 11 February 2020 | UPDATED: 13:26 11 February 2020

Simon Evans. Picture: Supplied by Norwich Playhouse

Simon Evans. Picture: Supplied by Norwich Playhouse

Supplied by Norwich Playhouse

Simon Evans took to the stage at Norwich Playhouse last night for his Work Of The Devil show.

We are relatively used to people in the spotlight baring their all these days, even anatomically - and while Simon Evans thankfully doesn't go that far this is a very emotionally raw show.

While much of the material seems a gentle meander through his daily life and random pieces of biography, it is only in retrospect that you begin to comprehend the clever construction.

There are jokes along the journey but this is not a gag-a-minute show, with the pace befitting a man whose chosen stage outfit is a nice tweed jacket. The references follow suit: a paean to long-cancelled TV show That's Life, and to a time when "children were left to their own devices, by which I mean none - I was lucky if I had an Etch-a-Sketch."

Relatively obvious jokes about drink driving - "you need to keep one hand free for texting" - are elevated by Evan's erudite wording: "it's better to leave the stemware until you get home".

For the most part he teases out ripples of appreciation and wry smiles rather than belly laughs, but the slow-burn is ultimately rewarding.

The revelatory denouement sees large chunks of what we though we knew undone, and then undone again. The foreshadowing kicks in beautifully, and the pieces carefully lined up over the previous hour slot perfectly into place, coming to life with surgical precision.

The show may be titled the Work Of The Devil but it is beautifully human.

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