Ben Van der Velde’s Chain Letter
Underbelly, Bristo Square
August 13th to 26th
£10 to £11
Having a theme to your show is always a good idea. It gives you a set of parameters within which to string together ideas and provides the show with a sense of cohesion. And when, like Mr Van der Velde, the chosen theme relies on you personally embarking on some kind of quest or mission, the potential for comedy material is amplified. Lest we forget the many hilarious adventures of Dave Gorman. Mr Van de Veldes idea is simpler, but no less ambitious, than many of Mr Gorman’s. He basically intended on starting up a chain letter where by each letter would be personally hand delivered by himself. A worthy comment you may say of how the art of the written word is dying in favour of the far more convenient and cheaper emails. And you’d probably be right.
However, a valid comment and an interesting quest do not make a comedy show alone. At the end of the day you can have all the hair-brained schemes in the world making all manner of timely social observations but if you ain’t funny, you ain’t funny. And I’m sorry Mr Van der Velde, but at the end of the day I just didn’t find you that funny. Interesting maybe. Like an entertaining speaker at a dinner party his delivery was lively and confident. However, he reminded me of so many other nice young upper middle class white guys who are flooding the scene at the moment. I mean he can’t help where he’s from but he could at least make an effort to come at it from a different angle. Then again I suppose he did with his wacky master-plan. But at the end of the day wacky master plans don’t make funny, funny makes funny. And yes, you may have had an off day and this may have been Black Wednesday as you stated (or invented) but personally my post card reads – must try harder. THREE STARS
Review by Steven Vickers