Jon Bennett: My Dad's Deaths

Review by Tony Makos | 21 Aug 2013
  • Jon Bennett: My Dad's Deaths

Australian Jon Bennett was here last year talking about travelling round the world taking pictures of things and pretending they were cocks. This heady and academic show did pretty well, but one person it didn't impress was his father. So Bennett has chosen to spend this year examining the relationship he has with his dad, and as the title suggests, it's a little unorthodox

Bennett spins a compelling, ribald yarn, a tale of growing up with a stoic and emotionally distant father (who just happens to have nearly died more times than been healthy) – it's affecting and emotional while also absolutely ridiculous. Some experimental modern bush poetry breaks up the monologue; a tribute to Aussie legend Banjo Patterson, and a social-media piece is a particular highlight. An ill-advised back flip attempt in a low ceilinged Fringe venue is both admirable and terrifying: for the front row at least.

Bennett masterfully manages the ebb and flow of his tale to maximum effect, and when the story takes a more sombre turn he has already succeeded in getting the audience heavily invested in its outcome. Full of heart and packed with laughter, this is how storytelling should be done at the Fringe.

Jon Bennett - My Dad's Deaths, Underbelly Cowgate, Until 25 Aug, 7.40pm, £10.50/£9.50