Blowhole at the Pleasance Theatre: Press night review by Stephen Vowles 

Imaginative storytelling and magical theatre does not come any better than this. Written and starring Benjamin Salmon, his one-man monologue and comment about ‘stuff’ got immediate chuckles as he removed a microphone from the toilet pan he was sitting on. 

Salmon launched into an comical tirade of confessions, his likes and dislikes about having a hairy arsehole – his blowhole – that for a friend on Grindr he took regular pictures of. This is of course self-deprecating humour but luckily not self defecating. 

There could be a comic suggestion here that he may want his audience to think he was talking out of his arse, but this is most certainly not the case. His script is full of intelligent observational humour firstly about working in a very ‘up its own arse’ yoga studio to a very precious gallery. Salmon punches the air with comedy quips, but there are also lovely tender moments especially when he is on the phone to his mother and how she and he eventually dealt with the relationship they had with his father.

This is also a very mature look at aspirations; what you want to do with your life. Living to achieve something, including lust, the effect of body shaming, fantasising about the male body, penis envy and “mano a mano”. Salmon explores the power of social media with a hilarious section in his dialogue on the art of hooking up, social conventions, how to behave at a party and even an orgy – via the use of a therapist – where the art of faking manners is a must.

Knowing how to work a room and if needs be, not being so polite. He does drugs and then uses his comment about that to explain his feelings of morbid and even macabre thoughts. His mental stroll through this emotional gamut works well and with that comes his very strong knowledge on how to achieve a poignant pause. 

Salmon is a curiosity; a chaotic comedy clown who believes confession is good for the soul. This is a sublime look at the need for self awareness that is generally a result of the people you allow in your life whether it be in the workplace or socially or a mix of the two; knowing what makes these people tick.

This is one of the best self-penned monologues I’ve seen. Salmon has his finger firmly on the trigger and highlighting what it is like to be a young gay man; beautifully played out with a hint of autobiography to it.

Directed with a skilful attention to detail and artistry by Tom Wright and with a fantastic prop-filled set by Christianna Mason.


Blowhole runs to Saturday 11th September, Downstairs at the Pleasance Theatre, Carpenter Mews, North Road, London N7 9EF.

Box office: 020 7609 1800  

Photos: Greta Mitchell

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