Monday, December 6

Simon Amstell: Spirit Hole

- October 26, 2021

Amstell’s presence on the stage is a strange blend of comfortable and distinctly uncomfortable. His material leads you down paths that seemingly are created by him stripping himself bare when in fact that material strips you bare – once your laughter has died down.

It’s a powerful process, self deprecation as a weapon, the power of shame. And it works whether you have shared experiences with him or the things that he has encountered and experienced or whether you have sat on the other side of that fence,

And as he unravels his complex psyche before us he does it with very little anger, it’s the gentlest of journeys with him often squatting on his haunches to deliver another thread or sitting on the edge of the stage. There is a strange intimacy to this performance but it is so beautifully constructed and delivered that it hardly feels like a performance at all, more like a confessional, or therapy session, or both.

His ability to make humour from his worries and his fears is seamless and by the end of what is clearly a very funny evening of entertainment I left feeling that I had also been taught rather a lot of lessons, above all how to see the lighter side of darker moments, embrace personal bad as well as good and live a life as me rather than as the me other people seem to expect or even demand. Comedy gold yes, but far more affecting than your average stand-up. Amstell really seems to care.

Andrew Kay

Brighton Dome Concert Hall

15 October

Rating: ★★★★★

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