James Bennison: How to be a Superhero | Brighton Fringe review by Steve Bennett

James Bennison: How to be a Superhero

Note: This review is from 2015

Brighton Fringe review by Steve Bennett

Welcome a new addition to the pantheon of superheroes: FunnyMan.

James Bennison, like so many comedy geeks, is obsessed by comic books – and subsequently yearns for some special powers of his own. So the premise of this lively hour is his attempts to acquire them, whether by radiation, psychic abilities or alien influence.

Cue real-life visits to Sizewell B and an especially patient tour guide batting away his dumb questions, a 'genuine' psychic college in London, and Britain's capital for crop circles, Pewsey in Wiltshire.

And what a fun romp it is. Bennison might not be the tightest of writers but he more than makes up for it in verve. After all, he presents this entire odd travelogue in a home-made superhero costume (in the purple and green coincidentally also worn by the UK's leading fart-based entertainer Mr Methane) – in defiance of the static electricity that builds up in his nylon cape.

Given his compere-like affability, it's no surprise that Bennison – also half of Manchester-based double act Slap and Giggle – engages in plenty of jaunty audience banter, including recruiting himself a superhero sidekick from the front row. As part of his quest he also gets in touch with some people he considers real-life superheroes (or attempts to).

There are some nice visual touches on his PowerPoint, too, and although his narrative starts to wear thin around the crucial 40-minute time, he brings it back with a suitably epic, if low-fi, climax.

Jamesman, as he self-consciously calls himself, is never going to rock the world with this show, let alone save it, but – like most superhero-based entertainment – it's a most enjoyable slice of nonsense.

Review date: 11 May 2015
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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