Edinburgh Fringe 2012
Ben Target performs a comedic show using prop based humour with expert timing and Kaufman style absurd playfulness.
Entering the room for Ben’s show you are greeted with people wearing white dust suits and glasses who show you to your seat. The audience is giggling quietly in anticipation. When Ben Target (pronounced Tarjay in a similar fashion to Hyacinth Bucket from Keeping Up Appearances) makes his entrance he arrives swathed with a scarf over his face. Upon arriving on stage he makes great ceremony of removing this to reveal a dummy which he also hangs up on a stand.
What ensues is a bizarre show filled with object based humour and jokes made from phrasing sentences with pauses in the wrong places.
It is a meandering journey like taking a walk through his mind. Associations with objects are made and humour is created through the absurdity of their use and pointing out their uselessness when paired together. For example he takes an audience member on a “date” in a plastic toy car (made for a 3/4year old to sit on) and then let’s the audience member drive the car- which is hilarious in its ridiculousness.
With aspects of stand-up comedy, poetry and clowning, Ben Targets contains shades of Andy Kaufman in his show and is difficult to define accurately. He obviously has a wild imagination and a wicked sense of humour and timing.
As an audience we are forced into his World by being made to play a game of beach volley ball (we have to stand-up and pass the ball backwards and forwards- the team who has it after he stops counting down from 20 loses.) As we join the game his white-suited helpers start to bombard us with more and more inflatable balls, palm trees, parrots and sharks until after Ben reaches zero, both sides are left losers, although you feel like a winner.
Most of the audience enters into the spirit of the game although some are left clearly bewildered and bemused by the whole affair. As an overall experience it is cleverly thought out and funny- at no point does anyone feel insulted or left out and you only partake as you wish to. As adults we can often forget to be silly. Ben Target has not, and won’t let you forget either.