Reviewed by Humira Imtiaz
Review Date: 16/01/15

Too Much, Too Young

from Jack Bennett

@ ARC Stockton

The first show to kick off the ARC’s “Pay What You Decide” scheme, “Too Much, Too Young” is a witty, innovative, interactive show exploring the flaws within the UK education system.

Jack (or is it Geoff) Bennet invites the audience into his live investigation of how a child fairs from their education and the choices that they make, which have a huge impact on the course of their lives.

Education has always been part of the great debate within politics, and we need the hard-hitting questions to help us think about the grander picture. When is it best for a child to start school? Why do we need Education? When should we make life-changing choices about career paths? Not only did Jack explore some of these questions, the audience did as well with him. This one man show not only draws the audience in with its clever dialogue, but also attempted to edify education. One particular favourite of mine involved a game of twister, the objective was to communicate to the audience the history of education within the UK. Thought honestly, I don’t really remember anything other than the eternal struggle of the male form in a series of twister moves.

Earlier I said this was a one man show, well, I was kinda telling the truth. I barely know that Jack and all of a sudden I see a younger version of himself as a mask, it was enough to make me wonder whether this mask was of someone else! This was where we were introduced to Geoff, probably to try and end the confusion, though I just became more confused over the addition of surprise characters. To enhance the one man show concept, members of the audience were invited to aide him in his rendition of one of the most important aspects of his childhood (SPOILER: Ronnie Barker is involved). With this short scene we are introduced to the capacity of making choices when we are children and how they not only shape our lives but the resentment from the harsh truths of life. (See, I told you this was educational!)

This show was obviously quite a personal project for Jack Bennet; though I do applaud his efforts, I found the shows’ idealistic atmosphere quite unrealistic, but this was not a hindrance on the value of entertainment we received. We were offered a few solutions to the problems within education, and by the end of the show the majority of the audience looked as though they felt like we had come up with innovative solutions to improve the education system in some way. Jack’s assessment of the current system was valuable, however there were a few ideas ignored making the show biased and one-sided. I’m no advocate of the current education system, but some things are in place for a reason and if we properly explore these reasons I think we would be able to come up with better solutions.