Discover Ben Target, Underbelly, Edinburgh

  • @alicevjones

Ben Target (pronounced Tar-jay) has clearly taken the original spirit of the Fringe to heart in this show, which attempts to create a kind of ‘happening’ in the space of an hour-long comedy gig.

The lanky, bearded comedian has been building a cult following since his debut on the Free Fringe last year. This year’s show - part stand-up, part clown act, part volleyball match - is an extended version of that outing.

The whole thing, from the moment you sit down to the moment you leave is a little out of the ordinary, though announcing to the audience “Please adjust your mental filters for something a little bit different and rather beautiful” at the top of the show is rather heavy-handed.

Target, a mix between sinister children’s entertainer and public school teacher, with a commandingly plummy voice, builds a show out of his seemingly bottomless pockets, which are filled with all manner of comedy props and visual gags. The simplest - like his aggressive take on the old card trick - are the best.

At times, it feels like a mime of being original rather than the real deal; some of it has been done before by other comedians and with rather more heart. And while Target's shtick doesn’t quite sustain an hour, there are enough surprises along the way to keep it fresh.