'It’s about doing a big, sod-off gig that touches everyone in the venue’ - Lee Evans interview
‘I aim to put on a show where people say, “For three hours, I forgot about all the rubbish going on in the rest of my life”'
It’s an incredible 21 years since Lee Evans won the Perrier Award, and here he is back drenching the capital’s stages in the month of August with his high-energy brand of physical comedy. Although the humble art of stand-up was cultivated for a dimly lit and smoky cellar/basement/dungeon, you really do not want to be too up close and personal with this rubbery Essex-raised lad.
If you had the choice, would you rather be in the front row of a 50-seater cabin or in Row YYY of an enormodome? The latter, thanks. And Evans himself is quite the fan of those vast spaces. ‘When I was starting out, people said that arenas were too big,’ he notes. ‘But I think you can still have a great night in an arena. It’s a real event. It’s not just about the comedy, it’s about the music, the lighting, and the set design. All of those things can make you feel a certain way. I want to reach the very back of the arena with this show: that's what it’s about. It’s about doing a big, sod-off gig that touches everyone in the venue.’
Although he believes he now has a solid connection with his audience, he won’t ever take them for granted. When you emerge from a Lee Evans show, you know you’ve watched someone hard at work. ‘I aim to put on a show where people say, “I really, really enjoyed that. For three hours, I forgot about all the rubbish going on in the rest of my life.” I want them to come out afterwards saying: “Wow!”’ And, depending on where they were sitting, not wiping someone else’s sweat off their clothes.
Edinburgh Playhouse, Sun 3 & Mon 4 Aug.