28 August 2006

Coming back for more

David Benson - Why Pay More?, Pleasance Courtyard

Fringe institution (and no one is more bitter about that than the man himself) David Benson returns. Having confessedly run out of ideas he turns to the fringe itself for the inspiration for his new fringe show. Swapping the comfort of the Assembly Rooms for a portacabin round the back of Pleasance (as he himself says "Why pay more?") Benson leads his audience on a trip down his own memory lane, punctuated, as always, by bursts of popular song.

The show is a step up from the rather dreary "Conspiracy Cabaret" of 2005, and probably on a par with 2004's "The Haunted Stage", but it's "work in progress" nature means it never reaches the heights of "Star Struck" let alone the majestic wonder of "Think No Evil of Us". An hour in Benson's company is never really dull (although Conspiracy... came close) and his stories were well told and his songs well sung. If you're looking for a show that goes somewhere, this isn't it. If you want a diversion from the everyday world with a charming host, rush rush !

NTW : Please tell me the lovely old ladies haven't been dumped in a fit of pique! And one must wonder if he isn't going the way of old KW himself, feeding off his own anecdotes to diminishing returns.

JTD : The sparkly jacket... and after the disappointment of 2005 he has earnt himself a reprieve, especially if he brings back Mourning Glory next year.

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