Jon Bennett: My Dad’s Deaths (A Comedy) - Family Hyperbole

Pig farmers are proud people. They have to be. Their families shoulder burdens both absurd and poignant. Bennett’s family history, in this second chapter of my experience with the walkabout bard, spinning his tales of family chaos to an intimate room in Granville Island’s Waterfront Theatre, nicely blends the traditional yarn-spinning of the Outback poets with multimedia, audience participation and familiarity. My Dad’s Deaths feels like the annual catch-up at a reunion, a chance to relive the stories of past reunions and expand on our knowledge of quirky families and how they got so quirky in the first place.

Watching Jon’s yarn-spinning clearly delights the audience, obviously familiar and comfortable with whatever the Aussie word for schtick is. There is history here, and it’s a strange one. At first I thought Bennett’s father was Mel Gibson; which might have segued nicely into the multiple expires witnessed throughout Jon’s few decades. Death becomes Gibson, in many of his cinematic roles, and clearly Bennett Senior’s ability to resurrect himself was a key influence in Jon’s flair for the dramatic.

For the man whose seminal work involves making everything into a cock, the audience that this reviewer shared time with is still delighted with Bennett showing us more of his quirky world.

By Bruce M. Campbell