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Home arrow Archive: EdFringe 2013 arrow Benjamin Partridge: An Audience With Jeff Goldblum
Benjamin Partridge: An Audience With Jeff Goldblum
Published on Sunday, 25 August 2013

4 stars

The Banshee Labyrinth (venue website)
3-5, 7-12, 14-19, 21-24 Aug, 8:30pm-9:30pm
Reviewed by Liam McKenna

 Free and unticketed. No pre-booking required.
 Recommended for age 14+ only.

Benjamin Partridge has created a refreshing, ingenious, ambitious concept here, relying on the audience being absolutely game. This is a mock talk with everyone’s favourite celebrity (Jeff Goldblum), brilliantly set in a cosy cinema room, making it feel all the more like you’ve just seen the premiere screening of Goldblum’s new blockbuster movie.

Goldblum/Partridge, in black tie, plays on the idea that celebrities are nothing like you imagine them to be in real life. He gives the example that Piers Morgan is actually “fine”. He then whisks us through a pre-prepared “JeffAQ”, assuring us, with his smiling but always stone-serious face, that there may be time for questions afterwards.

The audience is beguiled with tales from Hollywood – from the early days through a series of “food diaries”, up to how the acting dream became a reality, all thanks to a pair of well-fitting trousers and some advice from Whoopee Goldberg.

At every turn there is imagination and humour that knows no bounds. Prior knowledge of the life and works of Jeff Goldblum (star of both Deathwish and Independence Day) is not necessary, although familiarity with his extra-curricular work may prove helpful (e.g. the time a misguided experiment turned him briefly into a fly). Partridge/Goldblum takes you through the glory years: the excruciating Oscars ceremony; the invitation to Richard Attenborough’s dinosaur safari park island.

The set really comes alive during the eulogy for “guy on the toilet” – just one of the forgotten fallen from that fateful journey, which comes through a spoof montage about “those who passed over the last twelve months”. That’s not to say the eulogy isn’t deeply, deeply moving. Partridge/Goldblum reads through a prepared speech, prompting audience members to fill the gaps. The results are basically the most fun you could ever have, even – or especially – when the answers don’t make sense. “He...” “…ate?” and “He was extraordinarily…” “…slow” are particular highlights, as the audience and Partridge/Goldblum piece together the life of a man we all knew better than we thought we did.

As testament to how convincing the performance is, Partridge has nailed his act so well you almost want to believe you are in the presence of the scientist from the film dubbed “so good the Americans named a day after it.” And in the final third, Goldblum/Partridge takes on the role of lifestyle guru, introducing us to the secret formula of success: prawns. It’s no secret in Hollywood of course. 

This is hilarious, original stuff. If you can suspend your disbelief you can’t fail to fall in love with Partridge. Or Goldblum. The main problem with this show (hard to believe it’s a debut Fringe show) is that it leaves you wanting more.

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