Lorenzo by Ben Target is a masterclass in bringing stand up comedy and story-telling together, creating a refreshingly hilarious yet moving piece with a clear purpose. Written in part to honour and remember his found family member Lorenzo Wong, and in part as a comedic comeback and appreciation for the art forms, Target pours his heart into this piece.
Target greets you at the door himself, offering to pour audience members cups of coffee, and checking in to make sure if we’re okay. However don’t get too settled in, for there’s a rather interesting question awaiting you on your seat to be answered. It’s a direct and effective way to shed any inhibitions and break the barrier between the audience and the actor.
The show follows Ben Target’s journey of navigating the journey of becoming a caregiver to Lorenzo Wong, a member of his family, whilst also trying to make a name for himself in stand-up comedy. This results in an unflinchingly honest account of this change, although softens the blow by a few well-timed jokes. The show begins with a rather inappropriately hilarious recollection of an interaction between Target and Lorenzo. Target’s gift for storytelling is immediately clear, for we can both imagine the scene unfolding and feeling the same emotions that he felt within the first couple of minutes of the show.
Lorenzo is Target’s first full-fledged non-stand up comedy solo performance. Yet he can’t shy away from breaking the story narrative occasionally, and gracing us with moments of more traditional stand up comedy. It’s sprinkled throughout the piece, which is an odd combination, especially without the subtle transitions, yet it works well here, due to the comedic story-telling style. We’re given an actual introduction to who Ben Target is during one of these moments, and I am now determined to catch his next stand up comedy. It’s also this decision to shed the façade of performance, and remain open and vulnerable, that allows us to further empathise with him.
The show is primarily rooted in comedy, whether that involves the hilarious antics and personalities of the two pranksters ‘Lorenzo’ and ‘younger Ben’, or the fun audience interactions. This includes an opportunity to win a chocolate digestive for a great answer to the question asked at the beginning of the show. Or perhaps it’s the toilet paper ribbon dance, complete with confetti exploding from a toilet that wins at the show’s funniest moment. The absolute unpredictability of the show works, especially well during the more serious moments, where I was pleasantly surprised to see Target brought to tears as he performs.
The set is rather simple, with a woodworking table taking centre stage. Much like the show, this table is also packed with surprises. From stowing away the explosive toilet, to a puppetry screen, actual carpentry tools, to a fully-functioning paper shredder, this table was brilliantly designed by Tom Hartshorne.
Without spoilers, I will say that the last five or so minutes of the show, weaves the best elements of performance together, resulting in a rather fiery finish. It’s the most wholesome moment in the show, and is the best way that Target chose to honour Lorenzo. The show was written and performed by Ben Target and directed by Adam Brace, and then Lee Griffith. It will be playing at the Soho Theatre until 14th of October. For more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.
AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Jonny Ruff