This show was originally reviewed at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival on 2/4/2010 on the Groggy Squirrel website, we are republishing it here because Jon is taking this show to Edinburgh Fringe 2012. We don’t know if the show will be exactly as this one was 2 years ago, but this review should give you an idea.
By Colin Flaherty.
This could possibly be the most ambitious project of the festival. For the better part of the last couple of years, Jon Bennett has travelled the world, posing for photographs that utilised all manner of phallic objects. This has resulted in a website, a facebook page where fans submit their own ‘cocks’, an exhibition, a coffee table book (available for sale from Jon) and this art/standup hybrid. It has become a worldwide phenomenon!
The first ten or fifteen minutes was time for the punters to enter the gallery and peruse the art at their leisure. The works were exactly as you would expect; Jon with all manner of objects projecting from his groinal region and an intense expression on his face. Each photo was accompanied by a title describing the object being used, my personal favorite being ‘Paper, Scissors, Cock’. It was all rather puerile and silly but a cellist playing in the background gave the event a tongue in cheek classy tone. After being handed an instructional pamphlet we were encouraged to make use of the various objects provided to create our own ‘cocks’.
Jon conducted a gallery tour of sorts by pointing out various photos and giving us some background to their creation, reciting some hilarious travel tales. Despite not being prepared enough to point out where exactly they were located in the room, this presentation was delightful and enthralling.
Moving into the theatre area of the venue, the performance became a type of storytelling show with Jon seated in a small armchair on the stage. He used individual photos from the collection as a launching point for various tales. He didn’t go into technical details about the photos but more their importance to his life and experiences. In this instance, he told us a fair bit about his family and upbringing; pondering how he became obsessed with penises. There were also tales involving a couple of people he met and befriended on his travels. These tended to veer into drug stories but were very well told so as to appeal to all. Jon promised he would have different tales each time so multiple visits may be worthwhile.
On the surface this show appeared to be merely reliant on the most base of concepts, but Jon had successfully used this silly obsession as a basis for some much deeper comedy. His brilliant tales of relationships and male sexuality revealed plenty of warmth and insight into Jon as a person. This was a unique event that is worth checking out.
For booking details at Edinburgh Fringe http://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/pretending-things-are-a-c-ck