Alexander Bennet has a keen sense of self-loathing and I Can’t Stand The Man, Myself is a well-crafted, acutely observed hour of stand-up from a mind constantly at war with its host.
Bennett's storytelling skills refresh every routine, allowing an audience to feel that we’re walking alongside an inexplicably self-critical tour guide showing us scenes from his life. His perceptive descriptions of the London property racket extend into colourful conclusions as he puts estate agents' ideas of what counts as garden access (and their equally unfeasible advice on mice prevention) to the test.
His comedic mind allows him to wring out humour from seemingly unpromising material, drawing out laughs at the versatility to which men will use the most uniform items in their wardrobe. And he applies something of the same thorough logic to himself. His voice and appearance, the way he's perceived, belies his class background. His therapist can't seem to wrap his head round that Bennett's heterosexuality isn't as rigid as how his training perceives it.
The show would perhaps benefit from a greater emphasis on these moments, our guide seeming to point out interesting landmarks as we walk by, not stopping to let us take a closer look. Yet it's an impressive hour, especially as Bennett delves into the dynamics of his performative confidence and inner vulnerability, making a persuasive argument about how fanatical causes recruit those who feel alienated, replacing our self-doubts with another's certainty.