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The Scotsman

Saturday 25th August 2007

Edinburgh Fringe Review ****





MITCH BENN is a seriously talented musician. He is also a clever, focused and prolific comic. His Global Warming Song is now many, many years old, but both precedes and surpasses most of the material that any of the comics here this year are doing on the subject. Mitch is big in every way (every way that is discernible when a man is on a stage dressed in loose-fitting jeans and a smock) and has absolutely no difficulty in commanding the wide open spaces of the Cowbarn. He starts with a Sgt Pepper-based introduction to his band, blasts on to do damage to James Blunt, confesses to never having had a Smiths phase and composes his own homage to War of the Worlds, basing his rock opera on what can only be described as a much less complex work of fiction. His take on Pop Idol is not only cleverly bittersweet, but also beautifully sung. He borrows the "Reading the Phone Book" idea from the company who are getting comics to do that very thing here at The Green Room, and sings the encyclopaedia. During the interval he makes up a song using six words shouted out by the audience. Yes, interval. A two-hour show at 11pm is arguably the triumph of ego over everything else in August. But they are two good hours. A medley of his greatest hit Everything Sounds Like Coldplay Now precedes tonight's guest Guy Pratt. And it is here, performing Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb that Benn really comes to life. He is a far-better-than-average musician and, onstage with wit, raconteur and bass legend Pratt, he looks like he has passion, like he is really enjoying himself. And that makes an audience enjoy him more.

Benn is arguably a victim of his own prodigious talent. And you sometimes get a sense he is not challenged by what he does. But he does do it so very well, I'd still recommend the show. And the albums.

Until today, 11pm

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