Simmons’ strangeness

Death of a Sails-Man (Sam Simmons)

Brisbane Powerhouse, Visy Theatre

March 18 – 23

When, five minutes into a show, you look over to see the sound and lighting crew cracking up along with the audience, you know it is a good sign. And Sam Simmons’ “Death of a Sails-Man” is a very funny show… a quite random, often offensive, frequently vulgar, very funny show.

More monologue than stand-up show, “Death of a Sails-Man” is, unusually for Simmons, constructed around the narrative premise of a bogan ‘muesli-man’ windsurfer lost at sea without Vodaphone reception. With nothing but a collection of random supplies, including a book of poetry, man mirror, Nivea products, paint samples and a Coffee Club loyalty card, he is determined to survive. Despite the company of Troyster the Oyster, Neil the Seagull and some Jewish sharks, hunger takes over and he is soon eating chapstick and moist towelettes (he’d eat his moustache but it is his thing). By the end of the two week ordeal, he has brain damage from dehydration, playing I-spy with the voice in his head and doing weird things with a dolphin.

Needless to say, this is the most unpredictable of comic journeys, evident in a stage that is left scattered with over-sized props and cardboard cutouts of celebrities from Betty White to Vin Diesel. From his Wookie impressions to sausage Forest Gumpery, it is all quite odd. But nobody can turn weird into hilarity like Simmons. This is after all a man that I saw on stage at the Edinburgh Fringe festival sporting shoes made out of bread.


In terms of content and humour, “Death of a Sails-Man” will not appeal to everyone and the mixed reactions are evident from one look around the audience.  Not only does Simmons repeatedly use highly offensive language, but he makes light of taboo issues, sings about Dead Nannas and suggests a farm where the elderly and depressed can be turned into sausages. It is also a very ‘shouty’ show, and not just when Simmons is berating his tireless stagehand.

When Simmons performed on Conan O’Brien’s late night US talk show, the host noted “You’re a very strange fellow!” Indeed, Sam Simmons, you’re weird mate, but that’s why we love you, even if you have always want to be a horse.

Sam Simmons

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