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Pope Benedict: Bond Villain

Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Dave Hampson

There is mouth-watering potential in the title and the blurb for this show, which should help to attract reasonable audiences to this 50-seat venue. The promise is of a perfectly timely hour of witty, intelligent commentary on the Catholic Church.

Even the venue lends itself to the theme: a white, igloo-shaped structure with a sinister lighting effect uncannily resembling a Bond villain’s lair, as Abie Philbin Bowman mentions at the top of the show – along with the critical facts that he is an atheist and he hates James Bond as a character.

The material comes very much from an Irish angle, which should offer plenty of material in relation to the Pope. But Bowman succumbs to the temptation of moving on to the financial difficulties of his homeland, leading to a 30-minute segment that moves further and further off-topic.

Catholicism, The Pope and even religion in general seem to get forgotten either wilfully or otherwise. Although a highly capable performer with excellent stage presence, there are a few occasions where the concentration on this major zeitgeist topic reduces the script to an extended club set.

The energy and enthusiasm that Abie maintains throughout the hour is impressive. He works with seamless proficiency and confidence that can be physically represented by the garish pink shirt he wore at this performance. However, judging by the number of punters checking watches and phones during the last third of the proceedings, it’s not enough to head off feelings of disappointment with the show.

Review date: 22 Aug 2011
Reviewed by: Dave Hampson

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