“I’m a sceptic,” says musician and satirist Mitch Benn. “But don’t take my word for it. Or indeed anybody’s. For anything!”
And that’s the gist of his show Don’t Believe A Word as he heads towards Horsham’s Capitol on Thursday, November 10 (8pm).
“I think I have always been fairly sceptical,” he explains. “I have never been one to swallow a philosophy whole, whether it be political or whatever. I have never been one to buy into something completely. And I think that’s important if you are going to go into political satire or any satire, never to be starry-eyed, like I say. I have got my principles. I know what I believe to be right or wrong. And I have always voted. I have voted for four or five different parties in my time. People ask me how I vote, and I always say I vote tactically. I will vote for a party for a specific reason, but even when you can’t see something you actually want to vote for, you can always find something you want to vote against.”
The key thing is never to confuse scepticism with cynicism. The two are completely different, Mitch insists. “Cynicism is believing everything is rubbish. But I don’t. I think there is a point to everything. It is always worth trying to make things better, and I think what is important in our day-to-day role is trying to work out how to behave accordingly. But I don’t believe that just because someone says something, be they a long-deceased church leader or political leader, that you should just accept what they say absolutely.”
The show will prove his point – as he deconstructs a few cherished preconceptions.
“This is the most successful show I have done. This show started in 2014, and I think it works because it taps into a lot of things that people are thinking about, things that you can get so worked up about. There is stuff in there about politics and about religion and about alternative medicine.”
It’s proved the perfect follow-on from Mitch’s previous show, which was all about the notion of the “fifth Beatle” – a show inspired by the death of Tony Sheridan who was described in some obituaries as the “fifth Beatle”.
“I was trying to work out where I fitted into it. I grew up in the 1970s in Liverpool; my parents were around with The Beatles in the 1960s. That was a show about musicians, and obviously there was a lot of music in it. I thought that there would be less music in this one as it is not so obviously about music, but I realised it really needed the music just to make it work as an entertainment. It is quite intellectually dense. If you are going to do this, you have got to do it properly, especially if you are going into some notions that are literally sacred for some people. If you are going to criticise them, you can’t just do it in an off-hand manner. And so to an extent, the music is the balance in this show. The music makes it work as a piece of entertainment.”
Tickets cost £13. Call the box office on 01403 750220.
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