Two guitars, one keyboard and a life-sized cardboard cutout of a man dressed as a caveman are what greet you when you enter the intimate surroundings of The Gilded Balloon Wee Room for Ben Champion's debut show Human. Threading together an hour of stand-up and musical comedy he focusses on what it is to be human and the universal annoyances of modern life.
Champion has an impressive CV that includes writing music for Blue Peter, Disney Junior and Absolutely Fabulous, to name just a few and his skill at songwriting is in no doubt- you have to applaud a man who can raise laughs on subjects as diverse as Bags For Life; the Higgs Boson; string theory; Tourette's Syndrome; auto-correct, oh, and Hugh Laurie. Credit is also due to someone who chooses to rhyme 'with you I'm complete' with 'control alt delete' in a love song. Whilst a natural musician in complete control of the stage during the song segments, a natural comedian he is not. Champion seems to be a genuinely nice guy and you want him to do well, but he is undeniably nervous in front of the packed audience and almost apologetic in his delivery of the punchlines, which unfortunately transmited to the audience and a few awkward silences ensued.
Champion's songs are undoubtedly clever, witty and utterly relatable and the audience are very vocal in their approval of each and every one, but the stand-up lets the show down. With some work on the glue that holds the songs together this could be a winner. More a work in progress than the finished article.