Radio and TV veteran Simon Evans begins his show with a clever and well-received subversion of an old racist joke that initially discomforts the audience. It’s the beginning of an interesting hour filled with musings on topics such as identity politics.
Evans doesn’t adopt the typical reticence one would expect when tackling such a thorny subject matter. Instead, he freely admits that as a middle-aged, white male, there are aspects of the ideology that he finds somewhat absurd. However, whilst Evans does give an example of what he is talking about, namely the infamous Jessica Yaniv case, he also provides a more in-depth analysis as to why the younger generation have embraced identity politics over more traditional political ideologies. This approach is a welcome alternative to the stereotypical right-wing rhetoric expected from someone fitting Evans’s demographic, showing that it is possible to engage with these issues without appearing bigoted or out of touch.
However, the most intriguing part of the hour relates to a revelation about Evans’s own background. An anecdote about feeling ill whilst going upstairs and going for a check-up develops into an interesting examination into not only the heritage he shares with other seemingly unrelated strangers, skilfully illustrated with the help of diagrams, but also the medical practices and sexual attitudes of fifty years ago.
Throughout, Evans maintains a steady balance of humour and gravitas as he conveys the enormity of the revelation. It speaks volumes for his capabilities as both a comedian and a storyteller, as he makes the moment of the reveal deeply moving yet ultimately humorous. This section sums up the tone of Dressing for Dinner, with Evans using his hour to both inform and entertain to great effect.