[Victoria Fringe Festival 2019] Jon Bennett: Playing With Men & A Lot More, A Review

Victoria Event Centre
(Fringe Venue 1)

1415 Broad Street

Remaining Shows:
Aug 29 09:30 pm
Aug 30 07:00 pm
Aug 31 08:45 pm
Sep 01 06:45 pm

Disclaimer: Profanity, sexual themes and adult humour.

Jon Bennett is always amazed in how he never misses performing at any Fringe Festival from around the world. The Gods of Comedy must love him and influence the lottery selection so that this comedian will never miss a chance to share his story. I knew I should not miss his latest show, Playing with Men, and its themes is not for the conservative minded. This show looks at what being machismo is about and the fallacies associated with it. At the same time, he talks about the most aggressive sport on Earth, Aussie rules football, and how it relates to his life now. That means:

  • No holding the man
  • No holding the ball
  • Out of bounds
  • Boys don’t cry

Ever since I saw him in works like Fire in the Meth Lab and Pretending Things Are a C*ck, I knew I had to keep an eye on any new work he brings to town. He is simply a tour de force who will make you laugh–to tears even. It’s tough to beat the latter; I feel it’s his most visually memorable work.

His shows are a mix of autobiography and quirky Aussie humour blended into a perfect margarita. In my case, I like pineapple vodka. He talks about bittersweet moments of his life, and how he manages to overcome it in myriad ways. When all the ideas he tosses to the wind comes full circle–like a boomerang whizzing back to the thrower’s hand–you get what he’s going for and have to cheer. The smile I always have after the performance lasts for hours.

His latest show, according to Bennett, took four years to fully realize. Like his prior works, he puts himself out there and talks about some aspect of his life. Whether that’s as a young boy growing up in the outback or as a young man, those photos must be authentic. Also, I want a copy of his rookie card to get autographed! He was once an A-list footballer back home, but when his coaches realized he won’t be growing any taller, they put him in the junior leagues. Eventually, he finally decided that this game is not for him any more. His hopes and dreams were dashed, and thankfully he did not let any of that stop him. He found a new calling: to tell others not to let anyone knock you down or play to your weaknesses.

Brotherhood and standing up for yourself are the themes here, and I get it. Using comedy to reinforce a point helps makes Bennett’s shows very memorable. His slideshows are always bang on. I’m not saying that literally, but also with the timing since he nicely hides that clicker to move to the next slide. I gotta love the subliminal images snuck into the presentation, giving ‘that meaning’ which is the name of this performance.

I feel this show will only tighten the bond between him and audiences everywhere. It’s possible to sing kumbaya together and still stand tall.

5 Stars out of 5

For more reviews from the Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival show, please visit our sister site at otakunoculture.com


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