Mitch Benn: I’m Still Here ****

Comedy

Stand Comedy Club    (V 319)    14.50

August 2nd to 27th (not 14th)

Mitch Benn is a dynamic and  engaging performer. He takes us through some parts of his “back catalogue” in this show, across the decades that he has been performing. He acknowledges that many people connect him with his work on The Now Show on BBC Radio 4, which was a hilarious and mind-jogging start to the weekend early on Friday evenings,. He expresses relief at being no longer involved with that, though he clearly greatly enjoyed it.

He makes  about the strongest statement I have yet heard about what he sees as the disaster of the Brexit decision and the calamity that awaits Britain. This leads him into a musical satirical expression of what looms ahead. He mentions the current talk of the difficulty of satire in the present situation, where politicians’ outrageous behaviour is hard to top. It is still necessary to continue with humour and satire, he tells us, as our freedoms are in danger if we do not call out those in power.

Maybe I am making this show seems heavier than it was. There was laughter throughout, and many moments of very cheering comic insight. Mitch Benn remains an optimist, despite the way the world is, and it is his mission to improve the world with words which deflate pomposity and pretence, with very well constructed and memorable songs,  and with rhymes that help without being too obvious – and also the mention of the very difficult problem of orange.

This is an excellent show if you want to be taken out of yourself for an hour, but at the same time to be kept aware of the important things in the world and, if it is not a contradiction, to be made to laugh intelligently by a man who is proud of his mixed Liverpool/Scottish ancestry. And come out feeling your mind has had a most enjoyable massage.

Tony Challis