REVIEW: Absolute Monopoly, Benjamin Alborough, EdFringe 2022 ★★★★☆

REVIEW: Absolute Monopoly, Benjamin Alborough, EdFringe 2022 ★★★★☆

Benjamin Alborough’s Absolute Monopoly invites you to take a break from adulting and release your inner child. In his 60m interactive game show, Benjamin satirises the depressing reality of an unaffordable housing market with goofy and innocent stunts egged on by crowd heckling. He works with the crowd to mock capitalism, neoliberalism and ridicule one another– so come prepared to get involved, to laugh, and be laughed at.

Whilst the stage has all the elements of a typical gameshow – a well suited host, thematic melodies, hidden props and a glittering prize lit up for all to pry upon – it is anything but. Absolute Monopoly scraps the rules and order of traditional gameplay, instead letting crowd politics reign free. The audience becomes the board, community chest doesn’t exist, chance is governed by the political system and everyone is a player. A loose guide keep the game moving along but nothing is set in stone, and rules – often random, irrelevant and outrageous – come and go at every turn. This isn’t a fair game, nor is it sensical, as anything goes provided that an audience majority sees fit.

Benjamin encourages everyone to release their inhibitions and works to get as many people as possible involved – if you want to play a role you will. While his stunts and physical comedy ensure he generates most of the chuckles, players and other volunteers are not immune to some good-natured public humiliation.

The show relies heavily on audience participation and on volunteer energy. While Benjamin’s affable delivery welcomes cheerful taunts, the crowd is ultimately responsible for their own fun and bringing an animated energy. Although the show is no doubt completely fresh and unique each night, the liveliness of the crowd and volunteers leave him vulnerable to a lacklustre show. 

Absolute Monopoly is entertaining, light-hearted and amusing without being laugh out loud hysterical. Benjamin knows his audience and appeals to those looking for a fun night out without taking anything too seriously. If you crave thoughtfully constructed punchlines or a story with any structure – this is not the show for you.

Recommended Drink: Bring your friends, assimilate with the locals and sip on a venom cocktail – it doesn’t make much sense, it’s a bit silly, but it tastes good and leaves you feeling goofy enough to get involved and make the most of the show.

Absolute Monopoly showed at the Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose  August 3rd to August 7th. Information is available on the EdFringe Website.

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