4.5 star Fringe Show review

Did you parents have a nickname for you? One that stuck that you didn’t really mind? Ben Stevenson’s Mum called him Ratbag, and as an adult, he still claims that to be the truth.

It takes talent to balance humour, optimism and tragedy in one show, especially when the topic is the passing of a parent, however, Stevenson does this with ease. We are welcomed into his world, learning about his now fiancée, about bogans over East, warming to him with some gentle, yet cheeky, anecdotes about giant fruit, and life experiences. The show never once felt like I was watching a comedian, I felt more like I was engaging with a friend, and this level of connection to an act, especially a comic is rare.

As we walk through the journey with Ben and learn about his family, his Mum sounds like the parent of one of your friends that was so cool, but also, kind of embarrassing, but you really liked going to their house anyway. She is strong, she is brave and boy, does she dislike France.

The acknowledgement at the beginning of the show, sharing with you that his Mum passes during the story is one that is needed, and Ben openly states that if you need to leave or take a breather that this is a safe space to do so. I felt it important to share this as I know it may be a triggering show for some.

Ben Stevenson shares an experience that truly allows us all to see that we feel grief in different ways, and the discussion need not be feared. In fact, the hot tip ben gives for dealing with funeral directors will probably stick with me for life.

They say laughter is the best medicine and Ratbag is the show for you to get your prescription.

Thank you, Ben, for sharing such a beautiful and personal story about your Mother and giving us permission to laugh again.

Ben Stevenson: Ratbag

Who: M (with a trigger warning)

Where: The Laugh Resort at The Shoe Bar & Cafe

When: 2023 Season has closed