Review: Ben Target – Splosh!

The cerebral comic makes a gentle splash

★★★
comedy review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 14 Aug 2018
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Ben Target

“Sometimes the world is too loud,” ponders Ben Target, just as huge cheers erupt from the Hive’s next room. Surely he hasn’t timed this show quite that perfectly? You wouldn’t put it past him.

Target is a scholar of the less-than-serious arts, although here he takes silly to serene new lengths. And lengths is an appropriate word. As the lovely poster suggests, Splosh! is pool-themed, including some hypnotic air-swimming early on from our host. A bit more air-swimming would have been welcome, in fact, as there’s a rare grace to his actions; although admittedly the bit where he backstrokes up the aisle is missed by most, as he vanishes from view. Perhaps that was intentional, too.

Target has actively attempted to craft a mellow show here, to offset an increasingly crazy world. That’s tricky halfway up Niddry Street, but there is method in his non-madness, as he’s also working through some stuff. The quiet-craving comic was schooled in Houston, Texas, where he was never going to emerge as an alpha male. In fact, that whole culture is eventually unpacked here, as things gets deeper, but not before an entertaining array of costume changes, spot-quizzes, and a useful self-help strategy involving felt-tipped pens.

Target has built a fine reputation as a surreal, cerebral performer, although the commendable Splosh! is arguably a victim of that acclaim. This (full) room is a little tight for such a visual comic, and his movements are clearly lost on many spectators, behind a sea of heads. It’s a nice problem to have.