dfp_header_hidden_string

Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Benny review at Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh – ‘unimaginative biopic of a comedy legend’

Liam Tobin in Benny, Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh. Photo: Kirsten McTernan Liam Tobin in Benny, Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh. Photo: Kirsten McTernan
by -

When Benny Hill died in 1992, his body lay undiscovered for two days. His career as a comedian had been over for some time, but during those two days millions of people around the world would have been watching him on television. Hill was a comic nurtured in the variety halls but never warmed to them. When the opportunity arose for television work, Hill embraced the new medium and developed a style and formula based on silent-movie techniques.

Hill is still hugely popular around the world today and Owen Thomas’ informative one-man show offers Hill a chance to tell his own story. The non-linear narrative is a little disorientating but amid the Wikipedia-style fact-fest, there is an attempt to make a tie-in with Hill’s performance as Bottom in the 1964 television version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Thomas draws parallels between the character and Hill’s life and punctuates his text with pertinent quotes.

While Liam Tobin bears absolutely no physical resemblance to Hill, he does a fairly decent impression, but struggles to engage his audience. Video sequences add little to the fairly doughy texture of this biopic, although the recreation of one of Hill’s Yakety Sax chases raises a smile.

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price
Verdict
Unimaginative biopic of a comedy legend
^