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BARBARIANS

View Performers Biography

Comedy

Venue:The White Horse, 266 Canongate (The Royal Mile) Edinburgh EH8 8AA
Phone: 0131 557 3512
Links: Click Here for venue details, Click here for map
Ticket Prices: Free  
Room: The Back Lounge
AUG 4-14, 16-28 at 17:30 (60 min)
 
Show Image

According to scientists every Eurasian man shares about 8% of his DNA with Genghis Khan, which makes us all part barbarian. A pretty sobering thought as you play on your i-Phone whilst sipping a skinny mocha-latte. If we really want to know about ourselves, probably best to find out about great-great-great-great-great-granddad Genghis first and see how much we've actually evolved since then. Big questions require big answers, and so long as you don't equate big with accurate, you're in for a treat.

"A sharp and crafty gagsmith, with wittily obtuse takes on...an impressively wide range of topics...bringing flair and confidence to them all. " Steve Bennett, Chortle

"Highly promising...an accomplished comic." Time Out

"Wonderfully improvised riffs showcasing his impressive spontaneity and sharp tongue." Edinburgh Festivals Magazine'


News and Reviews for this Show

August 24, 2016  Festival Magazine
Review for Barbarians
Ben Van der Velde began his career as an improv performer, but has latterly taken to scripted solo shows. While some artists thrive under constraints, he is hampered by the self-imposed challenge. Yes, he gets to address what his programme entry terms 'big issues' and market his show as a unified whole, but his planned material seems lacking when bookended by off-the-cuff riffs.

The latter make for Barbarians' most memorable moments, the performer's superficial judgement of various audience members proving a clear highlight. On these flights of fancy, he pushes ideas to extremes and displays a crackling, spontaneous energy in which we're swept up. By comparison, it's difficult to forgive, much less enjoy, a rotten, illogical routine on female genital mutilation which the comic has thought worth memorising.

Ostensibly about human nature and the characteristics we pass on through DNA, this is a loose hour and relies on Van der Velde's charisma to carry it off. His inclusive, studenty charm goes a long way in the uncomfortably hot pub back room, but once the dust settles on the gig, it's difficult to recall very much of it. The comic helps us pass the time with a few solid laughs, but falls short of any grander ambitions, his key strengths lying dormant for most of his time on stage.
 Click Here

August 14, 2016  Edinburgh Fringe Review
Review for Barbarians
There is always a little apprehension surrounding the Free Fringe, and Ben van der Velde bounds into the room exuding a kind of nervous energy. There is no question of nerves getting to him, though, as he launches into his show and makes the energy in the room electric.
The room itself is packed, and the crowd is varied – he uses the disparity of people in the room to his advantage, addressing individuals in a gently mocking but not unfair way. I felt that he balanced his stand-up act perfectly, in that the main thread of gags running through it is intelligent, and his subject holds up well to being mined throughout the show. His spontaneous interaction with the crowd is as good as his written lines, and this is an obviously quick witted man performing fantastic anecdotal style comedy. His delivery is faultless, he is a natural – I was in stitches throughout the show, laughing along with the fifty-strong crowd.
Van der Velde takes every topic that is taboo to talk about at a dinner party and lays it out on the table to laugh at, turning lazy stereotypes and political messes into biting, personal, satire. Religion takes a hard hit in the show, but it is not crudely bludgeoned, it is just addressed in an intelligent, innovative way. He does rely quite heavily on his own Jewish identity to provide a kind of insurance against his Jewish-based jokes, but they are self deprecating enough and eventually just about safe enough to steer clear of being too unacceptable. That is not to say that he is just a Frankie Boyle of the Free Fringe. He is clever, not cruel, and he makes you laugh, not “write an angry letter to the Guardian”, as he suggests might happen.
Stand-up is brutal, and it takes some nerve and some sheer talent to do it well. Van der Velde has talent in spades; he had me laughing the whole way through the piece. It is a definite gem of the Fringe, let alone the Free Fringe, so go while you can and enjoy his sharp, observant and hilarious style. Just don't bring it up at a dinner party. Click Here

August 11, 2016  The Reviews Hub
Ben van der Velde: Barbarians – The White Horse, Edinburgh
Reviewer: R G Balgray
Pzazz. That indefinable mix of pace, quality of material, energy, call it what you will, Ben van der Velde displays it in bucketloads. A packed back-room in the pub advertised as the oldest in Edinburgh was whisked through a routine covering many, many bases – and then some.
His main schtick, though, is to tweak at the multiple absurdities we have to live with, particularly the “isms”- racism, sexism, terrorism – and throw in a dose of his own personal psychological analysis for good measure. And don’t forget some cracking dirty jokes, plus debunking religions in general, and his own complicated genealogical background in particular. Along the way, he manages a fine line in audience engagement (his is definitively not a performance for those who like to sit anonymously behind that glass wall…), and he doesn’t baulk at taking the odd chance or six with their willingness to go along with him. For walking a fine line seems to be his firm intention: some holy cows don’t seem so much to be mocked as kebabbed. But he’s working so hard, and so much on form rapport-wise right from the start that he seems to get away with it. He must have one of the highest jokes-per-hour counts in Edinburgh this month already. It’s only afterwards you realise just how structured and clever his material has been. If he can keep this level up, it will certainly be exhausting, but success must also surely beckon …
Runs until Sunday 28 August 2016 (not 15) Click Here

August 11, 2016  Three Weeks
Review for Barbarians
Tackling human nature, biology, identity and current affairs, Ben Van der Velde covers a broad remit in this entertaining hour at the venerable White Horse. At times he plays it safe; when discussing his own Jewish identity he covers the practical ridiculousness of religious doctrine and traditions, which is well-trodden ground to say the least. Elsewhere he takes real chances – the closing routine revolving around ISIS sees him engage in some impressive emotional honesty. Though Van der Velde clearly plans his material quite thoroughly, he’s also unafraid to riff and improvise, which allows him to keep the audience onside even when a dicey gag causes a murmur (there are a few – this show’s not one for the easily offended). It’s a solid, fun hour.

Laughing Horse @ The White Horse, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Jon Stapley] Click Here

August 7, 2016  Ed Fringe Review
Ed Fringe Review
There is always a little apprehension surrounding the Free Fringe, and Ben van der Velde bounds into the room exuding a kind of nervous energy. There is no question of nerves getting to him, though, as he launches into his show and makes the energy in the room electric.

The room itself is packed, and the crowd is varied – he uses the disparity of people in the room to his advantage, addressing individuals in a gently mocking but not unfair way. I felt that he balanced his stand-up act perfectly, in that the main thread of gags running through it is intelligent, and his subject holds up well to being mined throughout the show. His spontaneous interaction with the crowd is as good as his written lines, and this is an obviously quick witted man performing fantastic anecdotal style comedy. His delivery is faultless, he is a natural – I was in stitches throughout the show, laughing along with the fifty-strong crowd.

Van der Velde takes every topic that is taboo to talk about at a dinner party and lays it out on the table to laugh at, turning lazy stereotypes and political messes into biting, personal, satire. Religion takes a hard hit in the show, but it is not crudely bludgeoned, it is just addressed in an intelligent, innovative way. He does rely quite heavily on his own Jewish identity to provide a kind of insurance against his Jewish-based jokes, but they are self deprecating enough and eventually just about safe enough to steer clear of being too unacceptable. That is not to say that he is just a Frankie Boyle of the Free Fringe. He is clever, not cruel, and he makes you laugh, not “write an angry letter to the Guardian”, as he suggests might happen.

Stand-up is brutal, and it takes some nerve and some sheer talent to do it well. Van der Velde has talent in spades; he had me laughing the whole way through the piece. It is a definite gem of the Fringe, let alone the Free Fringe, so go while you can and enjoy his sharp, observant and hilarious style. Just don't bring it up at a dinner party. Click Here

August 7, 2016  Reviews Hub
Pzazz. That indefinable mix of pace, quality of material, energy, call it what you will, Ben van der Velde displays it in bucketloads. A packed back-room in the pub advertised as the oldest in Edinburgh was whisked through a routine covering many, many bases – and then some.

His main schtick, though, is to tweak at the multiple absurdities we have to live with, particularly the “isms”- racism, sexism, terrorism – and throw in a dose of his own personal psychological analysis for good measure. And don’t forget some cracking dirty jokes, plus debunking religions in general, and his own complicated genealogical background in particular. Along the way, he manages a fine line in audience engagement (his is definitively not a performance for those who like to sit anonymously behind that glass wall…), and he doesn’t baulk at taking the odd chance or six with their willingness to go along with him. For walking a fine line seems to be his firm intention: some holy cows don’t seem so much to be mocked as kebabbed. But he’s working so hard, and so much on form rapport-wise right from the start that he seems to get away with it. He must have one of the highest jokes-per-hour counts in Edinburgh this month already. It’s only afterwards you realise just how structured and clever his material has been. If he can keep this level up, it will certainly be exhausting, but success must also surely beckon … Click Here

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