Ben Target: Splosh

I entered the small venue to observe the Comedian in question performing stretch exercises which was quite a rarity in itself. Could it be just to pass the time whilst the room fills? It doesn’t appear so, everybody is seated and awkwardly wondering if we should just chat amongst ourselves. It is only after carrying out a full-body stretch that Target lets us know of his disappointment in us all for not joining him in the exercises to help prepare us all for the journey we are about to embark upon! That there sets the tone and theme of this show in its entirety: That nothing is ever what it seems and beneath the surface there is a meaningful message in the narrative.

Target aims to do two things: 1. Create a mellow-comedy and 2. Take his audience to Hypnopompia: the state of consciousness leading out of sleep (apparently!). The absurdity does not stop there as bizarre actions happen throughout. Target is constantly engaged with his audience, there is no mic and he roams around the room in a permanent gaze as he interacts. As far as audience participation goes, it is as diverse as it gets as Target has them answering quiz-like questions, drawing, feeding mythical creatures and throwing ping pong balls…

Target’s portrayal of this odd character is intense and his deadpan style is perfect for the hypnotic world he has created. Not all jokes hit the mark and at times it can all be a little overwhelming as the absurdity overpowers the humour. What is interesting about this though is the reason Target wants to go to Hypnopompia, a safe haven where he is at his most comfortable. Eventually he discloses to the audience of a traumatic event that happened years ago which had a detrimental impact on his life at that time and as a result, this could be the coping mechanism for overcoming the adversities caused by the trauma.

The theme of everything is not what it seems, it becomes a little predictable at points and the pace of the show is scattered but this is probably intended. This show is unique and if looking for a show that contains absurdity with a mellow vibe to it then this may be the show with a difference that you are after. Target is only going to improve and the creativeness that spills out from him merits respect alone. His talents have been recognised in previous years and this is a comedian with great potential to the point where swimming on the floor of the Hive should be as low as he will go as better things certainly await him. 

★★★

Graham Millar

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