Australian story teller Jon Bennett returns to the Montreal Fringe with his new one-man show Story Whore. Looking at the titles of Bennett’s previous Fringe shows (Pretending Things are a Cock and Fire in The Meth Lab) is a quick way to prepare yourself for what you can expect this time ‘round. Some of its silly, some of its serious, thankfully all of it’s entertaining.
Bennett’s past shows have included stories of his ultra-religious father and meth dealing brother. Now that he’s run out of interesting stories to share of other people, what’s a story teller to do? Inspired by a Montreal (or likely whatever city you catch the show in) airport security guard who questions whether he knows what love is, Bennett guides the audience on an epic journey through the soaring highs and dramatic lows of his romantic relationships.
A quick look at Bennett’s website demonstrates that story telling is perhaps his life’s greatest passion. I missed his past Fringe shows, but it’s clear Bennett has worked hard at crafting an anecdote just right. Whether it’s deciding which exact moment to use voice inflections, or incorporating real and re-imagined items from his life, it’s all part of a goal to gain your sympathy and trust.
As an audience member you know you’re being manipulated. While the real names of people in the stories have been obviously changed, you can’t help but wonder how one would feel knowing Bennett was traveling around the world sharing personal details of your relationship. Or how much of these stories are exaggerated, or even true.
But Bennett is such a good performer you never cling to those feelings for long. It’s much more fun to just go along for the ride. Because seriously, when else in your life will you see a man in his thirties run around in a dress while recounting a sad childhood memory?
Story Whore plays until June 21st at Café Campus.