Mitch Benn Is the 37th Beatle | Review by Hilary Wardle
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Mitch Benn Is the 37th Beatle

Note: This review is from 2013

Review by Hilary Wardle

The first clue that Mitch has a large, loyal fan base is the wide-eyed, grey haired man gazing adoringly at the stage wearing a ‘Mitch Benn on tour’ T-shirt. The second is that the fairly large venue is absolutely packed.

Benn might not be bigger than the Beatles- or Jesus- but the softly spoken middle-aged Scouser has a lot in common with them, including musical talent and a shared home town. Add in the fact that he went to the same primary school as Paul McCartney and John Lennon and you can forgive him for suggesting that he’s actually the 37th Beatle.

37th? Hang on, aren’t people usually described as the ‘fifth Beatle’? Well, yes. So many people have been described as such that there are now at least 36 of them, and Benn is here to take us on a musical and flip-chart exploration of all the likely candidates.

It’s hard to decide what the highlight of the show is: it is his spot-on Beatles spoof songs or the sheer richness and variety of the Beatles trivia he shares? Or is it actually secret option three: his own tenuous connections to the Beatles, explored in fits and starts throughout the show, and culminating with a story about a snake, a van and the original ‘fifth Beatle’ Pete Best that will leave you in stitches, curled up in your seat like a python in a glove compartment?

The parodies are probably the best thing about this packed show: particularly the one about the time Ringo Starr making a misguided comment about Liverpool that led to a topiary version of the drummer being vandalised in a local park. There’s also a demonstration of the way the Beatles used a variety of loops to create the trippy proto-dance number Tomorrow Never Knows that is - frankly - dazzling.

The average age of the audience is around 60 and most seem to be Beatles obsessives, though there are a few younger, self-consciously cool people in the audience who are obviously keen music fans. However, you really don’t have to have lived through the Sixties to enjoy his show. Anyone who likes music, hates Simon Cowell and likes learning new things will love it.

Review date: 21 Aug 2013
Reviewed by: Hilary Wardle

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