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Mark Simmons – Mr review

Just the Tonic at the Mash House

By Ben Williams

Dull show title, right? You would think that Mark Simmons could have thought up an eye-catching name for his Edinburgh Fringe debut. But really the one-liner slinging comic has just thought ahead. ‘Mr’ is an elaborate set-up to one of his opening jokes, and it’s an impressive amount of forward planning for just one gag.

It’s not the only intricate joke in Simmons’s show. Some punchlines are dropped a good 30 minutes after the set-up, and despite being straightforward bits of wordplay, the anticipation gives them an extra level of funny.

Sitting alongside these ultra-slow-burners are offbeat one-liners, strange facts and groan-worthy puns. Yep, there are some stinkers in here, and Simmons knows it. The Canterbury-based comic occasionally doesn’t seem convinced by his own material, delivering some gags with a question mark. Others simply fall flat, or have too long a set-up to justify the weak pun. But, overall, Simmons’s hit rate is remarkably high, and he’s charmingly goofy.

The 28-year-old stand-up’s softly spoken mockney accent, skewed perspective and giddy persona puts him somewhere between Milton Jones and Noel Fielding, and he has some lines that are on par with the Tim Vines and Steven Wrights of this world. Simmons just needs a little more confidence and consistency to stand-out in the crowded world of punnery.

‘Mark Simmons – Mr’ is at Just the Tonic at the Mash House, 8pm

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