Review - Simon Amstell at the Brighton Dome

Simon Amstell’s career ascent from teen TV pop frippery to Netflix-special heavyweight validates the obvious shining talent that most right-thinking comedy fans could see.

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd October 2021, 4:53 pm
Simon Amstell SUS-211018-172749001
Simon Amstell SUS-211018-172749001

Simon Amstell’s career ascent from teen TV pop frippery to Netflix-special heavyweight validates the obvious shining talent that most right-thinking comedy fans could see.

And if you thought he was destined for more than baiting gormless boyband boys (boybanders?) on panel shows, you’d have felt pretty pleased with yourself after seeing his latest show, Spirit Hole, performed at Brighton Dome.

The material is sharp and as you’d imagine it would be from the man who once told a pregnant Atomic Kitten that perhaps her baby was kicking to try to stop her from singing.

His precocious talent has matured and he’s approaching the top of his game, and hopefully, the recognition he deserves, but he’s not going to secure too many invites to the One Show on the back his latest offering.

Spirit Hole (don’t ask) has more sex and drug references than most young-tyro comics could reasonably expect to pack into an hour or so of material.

But it’s cheerfully free of any shock value, and instead celebrates the life of a successful and contented performer tearing through middle -age with new-found contentment and enthusiasm for the mental health benefits of magic mushrooms.

He’s always had the air of an adorable egotist/massive pain in the derriere , but now seems to have come out on top in a battle with his fairly hefty ego.

From bemoaning not being cast in Hollywood blockbuster (‘why is my ego so much bigger than my talent?’), to an apparent sage acceptance of his lot which came with the realisation his ego will never get ’what it wants’.

There’s also some good stuff about the enduring legacy of childhood traumas and his assessment of his early years is on the same page as Philip Larkin’s. But the tone throughout is positive. Amstell is joyously insightful, emotionally erudite and savagely honest about his flaws, always ready to prick his ‘genius’ and is optimistically preparing himself for a calmer more domesticated future.