Australia fell in love with ‘Ben From Brisbane’ during his time on Big Brother in 2013.
Since leaving as one of the show’s favourite housemates, the quirky tea drinking, antique loving, snort laughing Ben Zabel is constantly stopped for questions, conversations, and selfie requests, on the street, in the supermarket isle, at car accidents, and even in the waiting area at the psychiatrist.
It seemed like a quiet night in was needed, so Ben, dressed in his finest set of pyjamas sent an open invite for everyone to come on over to the Powerhouse for a D&M and a few giggles in his new show Ben From Brisbane: A Quiet Night In.
The show premiered over the weekend as part of the Wonderland Festival at the Brisbane Powerhouse. With the opening night sold out, it was obvious that the enthusiastic audience was full of fans. I have never been to a show in Brisbane where the artist simply walks onstage and the audience just applauses… for like, five minutes. I felt like I was in the Big Brother audience, just on a smaller scale.
For just under an hour, Ben talked about life before, during, and after Big Brother using video footage and antidotes of the many awkwardly funny situations Ben found (and still finds) himself in. Ben also bravely opened up about his struggle with anxiety and depression, which allowed for more than just entertainment, but a meaningful conversation about an important topic, which many people silently suffer.
The highlight of the night for me was the surprising ‘straight Ben’ character, which was totally unexpected (or thought possible). It’s one of those ‘gotta see it to believe it moments’, but very funny coming from Ben.
Joined onstage by friend, producer, and half of The Naked Magicians, Christopher Wayne hosted the evening to help segway into the video segments, ask Ben a series of questions, and keep the loosely formatted show on-track. This kind of free-for-all format is a unique and refreshing change to the general theatre experience, and what was absolutely needed for this type of show. In fact there’s room for even more random conversations and detail. As an audience member, I would love to be privy to details beyond what is released to the outside media. But then again, I am the media so maybe I know a bit more than then the general audience.
Regardless, judging from the audience’s rapturous applause, they were more than satisfied, with over half opting for the VIP treatment of the meet-and-greet session after the show where audience members could personally talk to Ben and yes, get a selfie.
Ben is funny, quick witted, and charming in his own awkwardly self-effacing way – you can’t help but adore him. Big Brother fans will absolutely love this show and with the opening night selling out and only two shows to go, you would need to get in quick to get your bum on a seat.
Ben From Brisbane: A Quiet Night In (presented by Sam Klingner Entertainment and Christopher Wayne), at the late night time slot of 9:30pm will run till December 11, as part of the Powerhouse’s inaugural Wonderland Festival.