Oh, the shame! I have always said I would never be that kind of performer who slogs it out on the Edinburgh Fringe for years and then, having found sudden success in the mainstream, returns for a one-off performance. It seems like cheating, to those of us who subject ourselves to the annual toil of four weeks’ hustling, striving and spending, racking up debts to our minds, bodies and bank accounts that may never be repaid.

And yet, here I am, returning to my beloved City for a single performance of my magnum opus from 2010, Lockerbie: Unfinished Business


David Benson in Lockerbie: Unfinished Business. Photo credit: Steve Ullathorne

By a totally unexpected chance, I got a job earlier this year at the National Theatre in London, playing a tiny part in a huge hit production, One Man, Two Guvnors, starring James Corden off the telly. It is really the first proper job I have had since I worked in an office ten years ago during one of the great troughs of my career; certainly the first time I have had an actual weekly wage since then.

As luck would have it, the National’s repertory schedule allows me to escape for a couple of days to revisit the work that surprised me by causing such a sensation at last year’s Fringe. I'm only performing one show, followed by a Q&A with the man I am playing in the show, Dr. Jim Swire, along with other campaigners pressing for justice for the 270 victims of the bombing of Pan Am 103 and their families (and, lest we forget, for the man wrongly convicted of the atrocity, Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi).

What makes the whole thing particularly special for me is that I shall be performing at the same venue in which I launched my solo career with Think No Evil of Us: My Life With Kenneth Williams, back in August 1996: St. John’s Church, a beautiful place of worship and contemplation. If I were religious, this is the church I would belong to, promoting as it does a genuine involvement in nurturing the dignity and human rights of people of all races and religions.

On the 9th I have one treasurable day to loaf about and attempt to catch as many friends’ shows as I can, to receive gratefully every flyer thrust in my direction, and to contemplate the possibility that in 2012 I will be back in the old routine, hoping for the best, expecting the worst, and taking what comes.

Lockerbie: Unfinished Business
St John's Church
8 August - One Show Only
16:00 (70 mins)