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Luke Benson: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Julian Hall

This debut show from Geordie Luke Benson is a real game of two halves. The first has him issuing forth a number of unrelated routines for half an hour, with the only apparent glue being a series of sound effects and playful, gun-slinging self-affirming phrases (like ‘bringing it home’), and the second is his set piece story about being stalked by a cabbie after a road accident. It almost works, even if is rather Route One, and arguably a bit lazily written.

The first half is patchy, and unconvincing and so, while Benson’s 6ft 7in is a officially a giant stature, he doesn’t impose on his own show and make us believe that he really is ‘Quick Whittington." A lot of his preamble is quite coy.

A subsequent riff on Fantasy Football takes the title literally and the substitution of mythical figures for footballers seems laboured until he ends it with an irresistibly stupid coupling. It’s clear from this point that he’s someone you have to keep your eye on, in the right way.

The other side of watchfulness is embodied in Benson’s set-piece story by the London cabbie who collides with Benson on his bike. The cabbie won’t settle the insurance through the official channels and threatens to stalk Benson – including attending his comedy gigs – until a rather arbitrary sum of money is paid to him to repair the damage to the cab.

The events that followed are brought to a nice simmer and this is where the excitement stays, a big finish is partially denied by the rush he’s in to keep to his time slot. An ever-present sense of slight menace is enough to keep the audience intrigued, while Benson is playful with his tormentor.

Judging by this show, Benson’s next Fringe hour might be best off as a collection of stories with some choice segue gags. Certainly he’s laid the foundation and suggested that he is, as his stalker says, ‘too big to disappear’.

Review date: 8 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Julian Hall
Reviewed at: Pleasance Courtyard

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