Hitchhikers Guide to the Family

Underbelly, Big Belly (Venue 61)

12-17, 19-30 August

£10-12 (conc £9-10)

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A one man show written and performed by Ben Norris. Norris is a man who has grown up wondering about his stoic, enigmatic father. How did he become this way? Does he feel any emotions other than for his beloved football team? Why was his father so different to him? (“if I’m a pea in a pod with my mum, Dad and I are a pea and a microwave Chicken Balti”). Ben is an extrovert that can’t stop talking? Is he his dad’s antithesis? Norris narrates us through his life from childhood to adolescence. He undertakes a hitchhike to all of the places his father lives thinking that the act of being where his father had been might bring them closer together. There has been 3 moments in his life where he felt close to his father. These are emotively explained.

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There’s clever use of video and photos from this journey interspersed with old family photos where charting Norris’ metaphorical journey from adolescence to manhood. Ben changes his outfits as the time passes to match those he wore on the actual journey. All this makes the monologue far more colourful and adds depth to the narrative.

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He takes us right up to the point where his mother has left his father (“his indifference to this was unconditional”) and he has had to show love to a father so impotent in his ability to overtly show it. He has to teach his Dad how to hug! Eventually his father moves on…I’m not going to tell you the ending but do we all end up telling Dad jokes. Hitchhikers Guide to the Family is tender, endearing and an unexpected tipped-hat to the nature-nurture debate at this year’s Fringe. FOUR STARS

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four-stars

Reviewer David McCaramba

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