Mitch Benn, musical satirist extraordinaire, delivers a thoughtful and incredibly funny combination of stand-up and comedy songs based around little-known facts about the Beatles, his own life story and how the two have collided to result in his being the 37th Beatle.
Far too modest to claim that he is the 5th Beatle – as has been claimed by every man and his granny for the last fifty years – Benn takes his audience on a musical journey through his list of all 36 Beatles. Some entries on this list, written up on a white-board as if by some kind of rock 'n' roll maths teacher, will be unsurprising. All four recognised Beatles are on there, as well as Pete Best, the famed managers and producers, and all of The Quarrymen. There are some additions that might surprise you (and no, I'm not talking about either Yoko Ono or those blokes from Oasis) but Benn's witty brand of reasoning ties it all up nicely.
Benn, who is an obvious Beatles buff, keeps a chatty and lighthearted tone throughout, and avoids churning out Fab Four facts, which would have put even the die-hard fans to sleep. He also manages to reach a wide demographic with his show and connects even with those of his audience too young to conceive of any boy band before Take That- such is his easy charm. His revelation that Ringo Starr essentially invented Mark Owen (and his role in a boy band, to be precise) because he was the nice one who all the mums wanted to bring home and cook dinner for, is particularly hilarious.
Make no mistake, this is not simply a one-man-and-his-guitar show. Benn makes great use of sound equipment, including what he refers to as the 'Lennon Button', which produces an echo effect and makes Benn sound eerily like the deceased frontman. His recorded gameshow-style jingle that accompanies the stories of tenuous links he has with members of the Beatles is pure comedy gold.
The main issue some would have with Benn's show is that, on his white-board, he ranks the Beatles in the wrong order- we can assume that the best two members of any band die first (which is of course why Barry Gibb is the last BeeGee standing), then Ringo of course beats Paul into third place because Thomas the Tank Engine is a much grander feat of artistry than anything Wings ever produced.
This is a must-see show for anyone who even faintly enjoys the Beatles, anyone who likes pop music at all, anyone who likes a laugh. Benn, a truly likeable man with a sharp wit, produces an hour of pure joy.