Real Life - with Ben Kewin
'A masterful display of tight writing, performance and a great deal of lunacy.' ★★★★ The Skinny
Royal Exchange Studio, Manchester - Fri 24th July
Camden People's Theatre, London - Mon 27th July
Real Life is one man's answer to everyone's problems.
Meet Ben Kewin: a man who believes that with enough passion, strength and charm, he can single-handedly teach us how to live a better life. His ambitious and imaginative mission is to educate and inspire people through the art and craft of performance.
Aiming high and asking only big questions, he revels in sharing an intimate and diverse collection of stories and ideas. Exploring universal themes of love and loss, honor and corruption, imagination and fantasy, heroism and hope, he promises great insights and profound answers. In the words of the man himself...
"Using all of the performance styles, I present a series of staggeringly beautiful plays, films and readings, that help the audience to understand the things that can sometimes be hard to understand unless they have seen a play about them."
Unfortunately his confidence is wildly misplaced. The self-important character we meet is actually a deluded cultural evangelist. A failure as both a writer and performer, his weird and misshapen body of work offers only a simplistic world-view, maintaining that men must be strong, and that women see life through a veil of tears.
"Being big, and strong and powerful and relaxed is easy, you will see that in all of my work. But what about the less important things, like understanding, caring and crying? When I decided to make a show about Real Life, I wanted it to appeal to everybody. But this meant I would also need something for women to enjoy as well, something they could relate to and connect with... like crying."
Photos by Tim Power
There may have been a time when Ben Kewin was happy, but having lost at most things in his life so far puts this self-proclaimed 'Master' at odds with everything he does - leaving behind a trail of disappointment, frustration and anger. Love and friendship are a distant memory and through his desperate struggle to understand and control his job, his relationships with women, with God and the Universe, and with "Putting things away... properly!" he manipulates the feelings of everyone around him - including his audience - leaving us to ask: Is he really an artist, or are his motives more sinister?
Fortunately the real Ben Kewin expertly manages this car-crash of a character. With a perfectly balanced performance, and using 'a great deal of imagination', he deftly negotiates the thin line between a lonely artist, painfully and desperately seeking affirmation and a self-confident, macho man-child, whose stories are so playfully and ridiculously realized that we can't afford to look away.
After several years of making waves with London-based sketch group Comedy Bitch, this new solo show is a Real Life departure for Ben Kewin - an opportunity to make new work for the theatre in Manchester with Director/Producer Benedict Power, through a collaborative process of writing and devising.
"You are invited... especially if you're important! Let's begin..."
To read the full review in The Skinny visit: www.theskinny.co.uk