Mitch Benn - That Was The Future

You may not realise this, but we are in the future. We’re sat somewhere between 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner and later in the year we can expect Jaws IX, according to Back to the Future II (Spielberg better get a move on). This is the premise of Mitch Benn’s latest show and it is brilliant, irreverent and terrifying in equal measure.

Supported by backing tracks played from his phone (how very futuristic), Benn and his guitar provide songs with such power it is difficult to believe it is just one man on stage. His songs are tight, polished and filled with jokes covering all sorts of futuristic themes.

The production is nearing the end of its development for the Edinburgh Fringe and, as such, is still a little rough around the edges but Benn’s larger-than-life personality and clear passion for all things science-fiction more than make up for the lack of polish.

One thing that is often difficult for musical comedians to balance is the strength of their songs against their spoken material. It can often be the case that musically prodigious comedians struggle when it comes to regular stand-up but Benn never falters in this respect, he is adept at all aspects of his craft. Although he never interacted with his audience beyond a couple of shows of hands (“Who has kids?”, “Who will be at the Edinburgh Fringe?”) and one particularly poor heckle, his comfortable demeanour created an atmosphere of intimacy and inclusion serving only to make his material more successful, despite terrifying everyone with the recognition of the power of today’s technology and quite how long ago Back to the Future was released.

Supported by backing tracks played from his phone (how very futuristic), Benn and his guitar provide songs with such power it is difficult to believe it is just one man on stage. His songs are tight, polished and filled with jokes covering all sorts of futuristic themes. Particular highlights include a Damien Rice-inspired love song to Pluto, an angsty Springsteen-esque rant about the perplexing popularity of Minecraft amongst young children and a fabulous Life on Mars homage about why exactly we’re not on Mars yet, complete with crowd-pleasing classic Bowie voice. Benn covers all aspects of “the future”: technology, space travel, global warming and beyond and finally gives a rather satisfying answer to the constant cries of “Where’s my hoverboard”?

Benn’s show will clearly only get better over the coming month. It is light-hearted, fascinating and an excellent vehicle for his talent and impeccable sense of humour. This is fun, clever comedy and one not to be missed in future (and don’t forget, the future is now).

Reviews by Stephanie Bartlett

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The Blurb

The future happened, and we missed it. Mitch considers where we're going, where we THOUGHT we were going and what happens when we get there.

A regular member of 'The Now Show' for more than a decade, Mitch has also recently presented 'Mitch Benn Is The 37th Beatle', 'Spank The Plank' and 'Did Douglas Get It Right?' for BBC Radio 4 and co-presented with Harry Shearer 'Anatomy Of A Guitar' for BBC Radio 2.