Brighton Fringe Review: BEN GOLDSMITH: CRIMELANDTOWN, Presuming Ed's

The production ran from 25 May to 2 June

By: Jun. 10, 2024
Brighton Fringe Review: BEN GOLDSMITH: CRIMELANDTOWN, Presuming Ed's
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Brighton Fringe Review: BEN GOLDSMITH: CRIMELANDTOWN, Presuming Ed's

“Crimelandtown doesn’t pay”

Walking into Ben Goldsmith: Crimelandtown, you are greeted by Goldsmith putting on a character you’d find in The Godfather, thanking you for coming to visit Crimelandtown Casino on “the day of my daughter’s wedding” and handing each audience member a poker chip. But this isn’t the only character Goldsmith plays. According to the show’s description, audiences will “meet mob bosses, made guys, dive bar singers, wise-guys, stupid-guys, guys-guys, hitmen and probably just the one vicar.”

We are first told by the mob boss that he is going to give us wedding favours though, he admits, they will be “third wedding favours” as this is his daughter’s third wedding. When someone asks for an ice cream, Goldsmith says that’s a “first wedding favour,” a “second wedding favour” would be an ice cube and the “third wedding favour” is a puddle of lukewarm water in his hands. This happens for several audience members in a similar fashion. In a twist that nearly had me in tears, when I asked for a packet of crisps, Goldsmith reached into his jacket, pulled out a Walkers Salt & Shake and tossed it to me before moving on to the next section. 

After a very extended death scene involving choreography to gunshots making fun of dramatic mafia movie deaths, we are brought into the darker world of the mob and are face-to-face with Jean Valjean, a French robber planning a heist. Audience members are given roles as fellow robbers, including Gary Kemp who can only say “Gold,” Dean Martin who can only say “That’s Amore” and Elvis Presley who says “Uh huh huh.” This leads to some truly fantastic puns and running jokes that continue throughout the show. 

Goldsmith switches between characters with ease, taking a few moments to change costumes in between scenes before becoming a completely different person once the next bit starts. But, somehow, all of these characters are connected to one another, with each one being involved in the Crimelandtown Heist in some way. I particularly enjoyed the character of Dez (full name “Deztined for Greatness”), a singer in a bar who has dreams of becoming a gangster with Frank Sinatra, the head of the Crimelandtown Mob. There is also an FBI agent who speaks to the audience as promising FBI agents, using them to connect string in an attempt to solve the mystery of the heist. 

Most of the jokes in the show tend to be pretty dumb but in a great way, lovingly parodying mafia movies. Some of these include the “old country” being a farm in Sicily, New Jersey, where people are sent to farm gabagool and spaghetti bolognese, a recording of “New York, New York” having the titular city being replaced with “Crimelandtown” and a group of vowel-named gangsters being in the place no one would expect - a Welsh Scrabble factory.

All of the cues and effects are well-timed, making for a smooth show. There is also a running gag of setting up audience members for wrong answers, setting up with simple questions that end up having a wildly different answer than one might expect.

Ben Goldsmith: Crimelandtown is a silly hour of character comedy that brings you into the world of mafia movies in a hilarious way. I look forward to seeing how the show grows and develops in the future, especially with such a good start!

Ben Goldsmith: Crimelandtown ran from 25 May to 2 June at Presuming Ed’s.

Photo Credit: Katie Davison


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