This was a show that I was really looking forwards to. I’d got a small party up for it, two of whom had seen Scott before and were already fans and two who hadn’t seen proper live comedy for ages and for whom it would be a real treat. As it happened, they couldn’t make it, which was a shame, as they missed a lovely show. Unusually, the energy levels stayed flat throughout. This wasn’t any fault of Bennett’s as I’ve seen him smash gigs at every level. The audience laughed and enjoyed it, but in a contrast to every other show I’ve seen of his, the energy just wasn’t in the room tonight.
Leap Year opened with Bennett being introduced to the stage by a recording of his daughter Sophia, which was a very nice touch that introduced his family into the show at an early stage. This was then followed by Scott doing a short bit of room work, chatting about it being Bonfire Night, which got a lot of nods of recognition when he moved on to saying about there being parents there who were just getting out of the house, away from their kids. This was a subtle and early hint of one of the themes of the show.
Leap Year was about Bennett, a risk averse family man, leaving a secure and successful career to follow his dream to be a stand up comedian. To anyone who has seen him smashing gigs over the last few years, Bennett being able to make it as a comic would be judged as a foregone conclusion. However, it’s not always so clear when you’re the one having to carry all of that responsibility and you making a mistake has an impact upon your family. This was a story that was easy to get onboard with and didn’t require any leaps of logic to follow. It was down to earth and perhaps all the more enjoyable for that.
As you’d expect with this comedian, the material was solid and the sincere delivery was spot on and totally in synch with his persona. The jokes came thick and fast, with the consistency of almost a one-liner artist, but without the mid show lull that you usually get when people become laughed out. From the routines and jokes it’s hard to pick favourites, because there was just so much that was absolutely top notch. Insomnia and dreams was very funny and logical, Bond is a cracking line, the shed is brilliant and his parents provide a down to earth, but joyfully zany contrast to his more immediate family. Bennett’s ability to differentiate family members through changing his voice is a minor but crucial ingredient to this show. It brings them to life as characters in a way that just a normal delivery wouldn’t do and it helps to keep the audience immersed in the show.
The closing routine was great and brings everything full circle in a way that gives a feeling of completeness to all that has been said. This is a lovely show from someone who is constantly succeeding in improving upon what a lot of other comedian’s would be happy to settle for.