Friday, August 08, 2014

Fringe Review - Fiddlestick Conundrum - New Century Theater - 5 stars

I may actually have run out of new words to use to explain why I enjoy Ben San Del’s comedy so much.  I’ve seen and reviewed all his Fringe shows, and given the competition that any Fringe show has to get on my radar, much less my schedule, that is saying something.  I’d have to sit and think about it but I could probably count the number of Fringe artists I can say that about on one hand and still have fingers left over.

Ben's new show Fiddlestick Conundrum was the reason Mom and I got our butts across town between shows and drove into downtown Minneapolis to find parking a couple of shows in advance, so we wouldn’t run afoul of the no late seating policy and miss Ben.  Mom’s seen nearly all Ben’s shows, too, beginning with his very first.  Now of course pretty much everyone knows who Ben is (his shows are so popular he landed the Fringe Encore Slot for best attended performance in his venues for three years running in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and he got mighty close in 2012 as well).  So he hardly needs my help to get more people to come to his show.

If you want to see all the many ways I tie myself in verbal knots trying to find new ways to say funny, smart, unconventional, whimsical, melancholy, quirky, adorable, awkward, absurd, tastefully obscene and the like when applying adjectives to Ben, you could peruse reviews of Mittens For Fat Kids, Strawberry Fields Temporarily, Animal Cracker Genocide, A Nice Guy’s Guide To Awkward Sex, Minnesota Middle Finger, or An Agony of Fools.

To take a phrase from one of his reliable standards, Ben is more than just “good enough.”  Ben San Del is reliable comedy in an unreliable laughter market, that’s all I’m saying.  He’s a favorite of Mom’s and mine for very good reasons.  Ben San Del is never safe comedy, but he’s always good comedy.  He may wade into the treacherous waters of discussing feminism and gender inequity.  He finds new and inventive ways of cursing - for instance, when you see the show and understand the context, the title Fiddlestick Conundrum is absolutely filthy.  And I’ll never look at, or use, a thumbs up sign in quite the same way again.  Go see Ben San Del, and then make his jokes your own personal inside jokes for future reference.

5 Stars, Very Highly Recommended

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