By Cathy Culliver.
If My Dad’s Deaths is anything to go by, Jon Bennett’s father has an uncanny knack for staying alive, and making his loved ones think he’s dead.
Bennett’s latest show is a funny and at times genuinely touching look at his relationship with his conservative, no-nonsense father and the times he had sincerely thought he’d lost him for good. And considering the man has apparently had a heart attack, fallen off a ladder five times and started three bushfires, it’s suffice to say Bennett has plenty of material to go with.
Bennett’s style is more storytelling than traditional stand up, and it’s an art form he’s mastered well. Best known for his tongue-in-cheek, internationally acclaimed show Pretending Things are a Cock, Bennett’s newest offering is a natural step into more mature and thoughtful comedy, and is a great platform to show off what he does best.
The show takes the audience through Bennett’s childhood growing up on a pig farm in rural South Australia, where his father was a hard man to avoid – he was Bennett’s school teacher, his football coach, his school’s bus driver and the local minister. Apparently also a deeply serious man, Bennett’s dad never swears – unless of course his son has just shot him in the chest, but you’ll have to see the show to hear the rest of that story.
Bennett also intersperses his show with hilarious poetry, brought on by the fact his dad wanted him to be like Banjo Patterson. Don’t expect any rhyming couplets or sweeping metaphors though – Bennett’s poetry style is more about graphic descriptions of birth and quoting status updates from one of the more culturally-challenged of his 1200+ Facebook friends. The result is very funny and makes for a good break between stories of his dad, well, dying.
Bennett is warm, engaging and very likeable. He is a master storyteller, and has the audience hanging on his every word. At times it’s easy to feel like you’re just hanging with a friend who happens to be telling you particularly entertaining stories about his life, such is Bennett’s natural charisma.
My Dad’s Deaths is an unaffectedly honest and entertaining show from a gifted local talent and one of the best storytellers you’re ever likely to see.
Jon Bennett – My Dad’s Deaths is showing at LOOP Project Space and Bar on Sunday 8 April, then at Tuxedo Cat from Thursday 12 April onwards.