Brighton Fringe 2019
Dan Evans wants to make some cash to help fund his retirement. In his new show he’s looking for his audience to invest in his ideas.
Dan Evans brings his show, ‘20%’ to the Brighton Fringe. In order to provide for his impending old age, Dan pitches his ‘innovative’ business ideas to potential investors.
Visually, Dan cuts an imposing figure. He’s a tall man, with a bald head and lively intelligent eyes that hold your attention. His charisma and character shines through as he welcomes his incoming audience with banter and wit. The charm offensive has started, even before the show has begun.
We start with a highly unusual opening, something he uses to segue into his rapport building. He thrives on the interactive dialogue, riffing quickly, funnily and cleverly on the responses. Audience laughter reveals how quickly we buy into it. This is a confident, skilled and experienced performer.
Although Dan is, probably, much smarter than everyone else in the room you’re never made to feel intimidated by it. This intelligence coupled with his comedic skills means we’re happy to come long for the ride.
And what a ride it is. Sometimes, silly, sometimes absurd and at times profound, it delights and charms along the way.
He revels in using the ‘garden path’ joke format, leading you towards an obvious conclusion before taking a sharp, unexpected turn. The impact of the switch was enhanced by well delivered punchlines.
Often self-deprecating, he wove personal revelations into the material, tagging each with an expertly crafted comment. This intimacy deepened the warmth of the relationship between the performer and his audience.
This show is more than a straightforward joke-laugh transaction. The absurdities of the propositions draw the listener into thinking differently about tricky moral dilemmas but without an imposed conclusion. A sign of the cleverness of its creator.
The gags come thick and fast, the show rattles along at a good clip with the hour seeming to pass very quickly. It’s flawlessly interlinked with sound and vision elements. He even provides some helpful practical jokes for the audience to take away.
By his own acknowledgement there were a couple of bits that didn’t quite work. Some elements felt a little to abstracted from the core material, being puzzling rather than funny. However, the audience didn’t seem to mind, they were engaged and, on his side. There is more than enough ‘good stuff’ in the show.
Anyone seeing ‘20%’ is almost certain to feel it was £10 well spent. We all laughed along. Most of us will have learned something new and been pleasantly surprised by its randomness. This was a skilled craftsman plying his trade to great effect. If anyone ask’s ‘Want to come and see Dan Evans?’ The answer is a definite yes.