Simon Amstell’s latest stand up show 'To Be Free' was a sell out at Bristol's Colston Hall last week, well, sold out apart from a few random seats in the front stalls, which immediately exacerbated Amstell’s famous neurotic self-important streak, 'This is a hit gig!!' he exclaimed 'Why are there empty seats? Did these people just decide that they'd had a lovely day and didn't want to ruin it?' As Amstell kicked off by being typically self-deprecating, I expected a show full of neurosis and intermittent angst, which to an extent it was, but surprisingly Amstell was a little less tough on himself than in previous shows, due no doubt to the fact that he is now in a happy relationship.
''To Be Free' is however true to Amstell form in his hilarious sarcastic commentary which unsurprisingly focusses on the notion of freeing oneself from the pressures and rules that society has created and its judgements of people who flow against ‘the norm’, as well as emphasising his own liberation from his insecurities. From touching on how autistic children should be freed of their obligation to learn how to fit into the madness of the rest of world to a very amusing justification of the use of the C word, ‘To Be Free’ covers a lot of ground. A personal highlight for me was when Amstell discussed the flack he gets for being vegan and earnestly reasoned that it was in fact the non-vegans who were mad. The sketch climaxed with Amstell telling us how he fantasised about turning up to a dinner party wearing a fur coat where people would gasp 'Simon! Is that real fur you're wearing?!' to which he would bluntly respond 'Yes, is that a real cow in your mouth?'
Despite clearly being in a very good place in his personal life, Amstell's show was still peppered with a few loaded anecdotes of insecurity and angst about his relationship with his father, which were at times a little uncomfortably candid and honest, but none the less expertly executed. From start to finish, Amstell’s jokes were embellished and steered by his loveable highly strung demeanour and amusing whiney tones for a good dose of hour long hilarity, well worth a watch!