By Jay Menard
Jon Bennett is a masterful storyteller and his latest show, My Dad’s Deaths, shows a continuation of his incredible talent and depth. It’s a hilarious presentation combining stand-up, archival video, and poetry.
A veteran of the circuit, Bennett is most known for Pretending Things are a Cock — a venture that served to disappoint his stern father to no end. Bennett shares the story of growing up on a pig farm in Australia, where his father was the central figure in his life — in addition to being a father, he was the local minister, his teacher, and his coach. His father oversaw all aspects of his life, but had a self-professed distaste for jokes.
Bennett is an engaging storyteller who immediately puts you at ease and has you laughing from the start. He’s a professional at his craft and even the most disturbing stories are told in a way that cause the audience to laugh uproariously.
We see video of Bennett from his early stand up days, we are shared photos from his childhood, and we’re taken on Bennett’s progression from student, to the business world, to the comedic touring stage. All through it, there are various touch points with his father and Bennett’s attempts to earn his approval and to crack through his stoic outer veneer.
The title comes from the fact that Bennett’s father was notoriously accident-prone and actually had a couple of close calls, meant that there were literally dozens of times when death was a possibility. Bennett hilariously walks the audience through them and draws laughs from each and every experience.
Bennett is a must-see on the Fringe circuit. With titles like Pretending Things are a Cock, Fire in the Meth Lab, and now My Dad’s Deaths, the casual theatre-goer may have a misconception about what they’re going to get. And that would be a shame. Bennett is an elite comedian with a masterful delivery, sense of timing, and superlative writing skills. Whether you’re a Bennett veteran or this is your first encounter, do yourself a favour and see his latest show.
***** — Five stars out of five
This review originally appeared on theatreinlondon.ca