Barbarians (Ben Van der Velde / Free Festival)
By Jon Stapley | Published on Friday 12 August 2016
Tackling human nature, biology, identity and current affairs, Ben Van der Velde covers a broad remit in this entertaining hour at the venerable White Horse. At times he plays it safe; when discussing his own Jewish identity he covers the practical ridiculousness of religious doctrine and traditions, which is well-trodden ground to say the least. Elsewhere he takes real chances – the closing routine revolving around ISIS sees him engage in some impressive emotional honesty. Though Van der Velde clearly plans his material quite thoroughly, he’s also unafraid to riff and improvise, which allows him to keep the audience onside even when a dicey gag causes a murmur (there are a few – this show’s not one for the easily offended). It’s a solid, fun hour.
Laughing Horse @ The White Horse, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Jon Stapley]