Only at the Fringe do you find yourself at 2pm on a
Sunday afternoon thinking: "Not another male comedian stripping down to a
pair of frilly women's knickers." But this is my reaction half way through Discover Ben Target, one of two shows the
much-touted newcomer is performing daily on the Free Fringe.
be fooled by the title. Target (or 'Tar-jay' as he pronounces it) has
been discovered already, jointly bagging top prize at this year's
Leicester Comedy Festival with that other young pretender, Tom
Rosenthal. Is it mere coincidence that both shows feature giant games of
noughts and crosses? There's a lot in Target's act that I feel
I've seen before: his desperate climb over the audience's chairs in a
bid not to touch the floor (Tim Key); the aforementioned frilly knickers
and persistent invasion of personal space (Doctor Brown).
not accusing him, Stewart Lee style, of plagiarism, just pointing out
that Target isn't as original as he thinks he is. What he can do is deadpan,
building up an undeniably creepy rapport with the unfortunate audience
members drafted in on his act. He's also a deft propman, pulling them
out of pocket after pocket in seemingly inexhaustable supply.
show is trippy in more ways than one and if you want to see his best
joke, you'll have to stay on board until the very end. But I'm still left feeling that he's less than the sum of his parts (or props).