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EACH OF US

Press Reviews



Sometimes, however, larger structures fall away and a single person makes the deepest impression. Ben Moor started out 20 or so years ago as a deliciously clever, geeky teller of surreal tales. The conceptual wackiness has remained but has come, with maturity, to be counterbalanced by a simple yet indefatigable romanticism. In Each Of Us (Pleasance Courtyard), Moor’s protagonist tells of small-scale yet extraordinary love affairs and friendships, and arrives almost inadvertently at a philosophy for life, of which the Fringe-going experience may be a perfect analogue. A guaranteed cure for all forms of disillusionment.
Four Star Review
Ian Shuttleworth,  Financial Times, 14th August 2013


It has been five years since Ben Moor brought a new show to the Fringe, and Each of Us promises a welcome return to his unique brand of clever, surreal, inventive monologue. In an hour of some of the most stylish writing I’ve seen so far this year, he mixes merciless humour and madcap ideas with moments of heart-warming pathos.
Each of Us has its starting point in the lethargic days that follow the ending of a relationship. Our protagonist finds himself at a party given by a couple of media types whose young son gives him a lesson on treasure, and how few things really matter.
He then charts the course of his relationship with Radium from their first meeting to their marriage, and a golden moment in Venice when all things did seem possible. Moor is great at sarcasm, but he can also be unashamedly romantic.
All this is laced with a constant stream of inventive concepts: pre-damaged plastic Lego bricks for dystopian landscapes; hair salons that have a stenographer to record the gossip; a charity scheme for sponsoring a Third World warlord. Moor’s protagonist works as a “corporate thwart”, paid to reduce his company’s productivity in ever more inventive ways.
But in this skewed present or not-so-distant future, there are also very real questions being asked about authentic experience in the age of the virtual, how we form meaningful connections with others, the nature (he doesn’t beat about the bush here) of the human soul.
That Moor is entertaining was never in doubt. But what is remarkable is the way that, in the midst of so much cleverness, he can toss in a line of such succinct beauty, or wisdom, or sadness that it captures a truth which some plays never attain, however many words they throw at it.
Four Star Review
Susan Mansfield, The Scotsman, 14th August 2013


“We are all simply transmitters and receivers of stories”, Ben Moor declares in this new one-man show. And as storytellers go, he takes some beating. With a rare richness of language and imagery, Moor describes a playfully dystopian reality in which overweight Underground passengers wear “baby not on board” badges, the lonely attend reunions for non-specific schools, and failed relationships are extinguished on “pyres of moving on”. Moor’s protagonist has experienced such a break-up, providing the catalyst for this exploration of love, loneliness and friendship. The tone and wordplay are unashamedly intellectual, and with echoes of post-modern authors like Don DeLillo, have a density that won’t be to everyone’s taste. But for those who like their theatre deeply layered, Moor’s performance is mesmerising.
Four Star Review

Sarah Richardson, Three Weeks, August 2013


Ben Moor nearly delivers simple, sad monologues about his real or invented life of a kind all too familiar in an Edinburgh August but with a difference. What actually comes out is subverted into a quirky world that is similar to our own but not quite the same.
The result is witty, poetic and at times profound, requiring serious attention that is richly rewarded by comic situations and conversations, which shed light on our existence today.
Each of Us reveals the holes in Moor’s life after his strange job as a corporate thwart (don’t ask) and wife, Radium simultaneously disappear as happens so often to solo performers.
The strangeness that ensues builds bizarrely introducing visitors to such concepts, inter alia, as the year-ring, the Civil Sarcasm Movement, disclaimer writing, Quaketennis and Storehenge.
Ben Moor’s performance style, under the direction of Erica Whyman, is also just a little odd, the physical movements resembling those of a mime artist rather than a monologist.
If you have never seen Ben Moor, go along and enter his strange world. If you have, you will almost certainly already have this charming show on your list.
Four Star Review
Philip Fisher,  British Theatre Guide, August 2013


There is a lyrical quality about Ben Moor’s performance. His way with words is brilliantly conceived and he pushes the ironies of life to the limit. Yet his style of delivery is very emotionally restrained.
His story arises out of his break up with Radium, his wife. He is so devastated that he “puts all his energies into lethargy”. To make matters worse he has lost his job as a “corporate thwart”, the little known occupation of firing out silly ideas to scale down the enthusiasm of those working for a large company. Some of his suggestions actually became successful.
By chance, in his mood of depression, he meets a friend’s boy who keeps two of his four most prized possessions in a cardboard box. This the boy describes as his treasure. This Moor takes as his cue to think about the treasure in his life. Along the way, he meets interesting individuals such as Alice. She puts bits of information onto a life ring. Eventually, they agree to cohabit and Alice moves into his flat.
As his musings come to a conclusion, he reveals the discovery of his treasure which is both reassuring and heart-warming.
A lovely hour with a skilled raconteur!
Four Star Review
Ben ?  one4review, 7th August 2013


If, like me, you are an admirer of the art form that is the ‘One Man show’, you will find few sharper than Ben Moor’s razor tongued Each Of Us at the Pleasance Courtyard this August.
Five years after his previous Fringe outing, Ben Moor returns to us with an hour long performance, delving into stories of relationships, emotional highs and lows, memory and all those little things that seem to tie everything together.
As soon as Moor steps onto the stage, you immediately know that you are going to like this guy. He’s just got one of those faces. Kind, innocent and maybe just a hint of sadness. But when he opens his mouth, you quickly realise that what you are in fact dealing with here is a ferociously intelligent mind with a glowing aptitude for comedy and language.
Sparkling with wit and bursting with energy, Moor captures the attention with both hands and tickles us into submission. Picture P. G. Wodehouse after a couple of flutes of champagne and you may begin to understand what I’m talking about.
He rattles on at quite a pace, so you’ll have to be on your toes from start to finish, but the experience is nothing but rewarding. Hilarious and heartfelt, this is a great little show to catch before some late afternoon summer drinks.
Four Star Review
Alex Eades, Edinburgh Guide, 8th August 2013


Ben Moor’s latest solo show is a delicate, glinting thing. It takes its audience on a quest for treasure and finds it in words, in the imagination, in each other, in a hot dark room in Edinburgh.
The play is ribboned with wit and word play, with linguistic zig-zaggery, images that lodge themselves firmly and deeply in the memory. Moor excels at taking familiar things and twisting them, spinning them a degree or two away from the expected. The universe he describes is recognisable and yet not. Concepts are inverted, upended, stood on their heads. There’s a streak of absurdist humour at play too in this story of relationships and connection and the hope we keep locked in boxes, a dash of Lewis Carroll. It’s hard to condense what is so text-heavy without merely repeating favourite lines or ideas or images. Part of the pleasure is in letting the story wrap its arms around you, like a hug. A big wordy hug.
The plot meanders through a series of chance encounters had by a narrator – a corporate thwart by profession, a generator of institutional incompetence – who has recently gone through a break up from his wife, Radium. It’s a mirror world Moor’s created here, but not in a satirical sense, instead it’s almost science-fictiony in its skewed view of things, a world in which the lonely reunite with people with whom they didn’t go to school and where children play with dystopian Lego. And yet it’s also very much the world we’ve made, a world where true communication can get lost amid the noise and we sometimes need to pause and remember what matters, what’s precious to us.
There’s nothing inherently theatrical about any of this. It’s just Moor talking, though his stage presence, if that’s the right term, is part of the appeal, measured, gentle, eccentric, slightly vulnerable. He pads around the studio space barefoot, a little hesitant at times. And yet he holds your attention throughout, transports you into his universe.
Some of his jokes are blunter than others (though this is very much comparative) and he’s not afraid of a pun when the moment calls for one (not a bad thing by any means). I would have appreciated more in the way of narrative momentum, but that’s a question of taste more than anything else. The piece as a whole speaks of the need for human connection, to be known, to be seen, to be held. “We are all transmitters and receivers of stories”, he says at one point and if you love language and the places it can take you, then you’ll listen to the story he has to tell.
Four Star Review
Natasha Tripney, Exeunt Magazine, August 2013


Each of Us is a gloriously off-centre look at relationships and the things that connect people. In a world like, but significantly different from, ours; a nameless narrator (Ben Moor, who also wrote the play) looks back on the end of his marriage and the things he has learnt from chance encounters with old and new friends and reaches an inescapable conclusion.
Although there are plenty of laughs the play is funny peculiar rather than funny ha-ha. But Moor constructs his version of reality so meticulously that, rather than sit in cool analysis, you are drawn into his world intrigued to find out more.
This is a place in which dogs are trained to detect angst and react accordingly; ‘Gravity's Rainbow' is a child's colouring book and the narrator works as a Corporate Thwart – designing strategies that cause institutional incompetence. When one of his designs seems to plot the way to the human soul he is fired for gross competence.
The play is so dense and the dazzling wordplay such a pleasure that the announcement the text is to be published in book form is welcome – it will enable us to appreciate such gems as ‘Jack Frost was followed by John Thaw' and that the British Euphemism Board is itself a euphemism.
Yet the way the text is presented makes sure that it works very well as a public production rather than a private read.
Director Erica Whyman uses the intimate studio space to help make the show work on stage. Moor addresses the audience direct making constant eye contact and his strange vulnerability ensures this is engaging rather than threatening or embarrassing. Dressed in jeans and a suit waistcoat Moor brings out the eccentricity of the world he vividly describes while his bare feet emphasises his humanity.
Moor's background in comedy is apparent in the quality of the script but his performance and compassion for the characters he describes ensures there is no sense of him developing a stand-up act rather than presenting a play.
Ben Moor uses the best aspects of his comic skill with wordplay and description to create a charming and gentle piece that is surprisingly moving.
Four Star Review
Dave Cunningham, WhatsonStage.com, 4th July 2013


Ben Moor is a writer of immense charm, invention and quiet wit, and, with a style that seems far more unstructured than it is, the ideal performer of his own writing. His story here – of being dumped by his girlfriend, moping around for a while, and then starting once again to notice the things and people around him – may have little new to offer us in the way of a moral, but he meanders through it with amiable grace on his way to the almost accidental conclusion that we find not just comfort but a sense of who we are from who we know. And along the way we are repeatedly jolted by observations or turns of phrase that are not just jokes but such absolutely right ways of perceiving reality that you just know you are going to steal them and pass them off as your own – an 'unwelcome guest room', a pile of bicycles 'fallen into an accidental orgy', or the escapist narrator realising he's become a 'shirkaholic'. It is a gentle hour, disarming you with its apparent casualness, but it will linger with you longer than many seemingly more dramatic or insistently meaningful monologues. 
Four Star Review
Gerald Berkowitz, Theatre Guide London, August 2013


Despite Kitson's undimmed prowess, for me his crown was snatched away by another one-man show, Ben Moor's fantasy Each of Us. Set in a world a stone's throw from our own, it charts the failed romance of a man employed to "ratchet down" his company's efficiency, in an alternate reality of ingenious comic inversions. Moor describes a world where offices run secret-Satan schemes to distribute random misery, and terrorism has been replaced with "inconvenience-ism", which it turns out is just as terrible. It is a moving satire on the arbitrariness of the everyday, rivaling the best of Douglas Adams in its witty conjugation of cultural norms and ephemera.
Stewart Pringle, The Guardian, 22nd July 2013


 The intricate, delicate world of love, relationships and the fantastical are beautifully crafted in Ben Moor's Each of Us.
 
We meet a man, a "corporate thwart" whose sole purpose is to engender low productivity in work forces and hinder innovation. 
 
One lunchtime in the canteen he crosses paths with a girl whose clothes are so scuffed it’s “as if they abrade against the surface of her life”. Her name is Radium, or Ray, for short. 
 
The pair fall in love and embark on a life together. Until that is, his ability to thwart destroys his marriage too.

We hear of his life post-Radium. 
 
He lurches, he looms. At a house party, where they have installed “reclaimed Edwardian creaks in the stairs to make them sound more authentic” he is socially on "stand by", the red light quite clear in his eyes as voices drift around him and the world goes by. 
 
That is until he meets a little boy who insists that surely it is our treasure that keeps us going. He has four bits but shows him two: a feather and a piece of pottery. 
 
The other two bits he has kept elsewhere – you don’t want to keep all your treasure in the one place. That would be foolish.
 
It makes him think back to the astronaut’s helmet he had as a child and how it reassured him. 
 
That memory helps him move on as emerges from the half-light of heartbreak to discover some truths about his life. 
 
When he encounters a girl on the tube with a metal ring full of photos, receipts and bits of paper cataloguing her life he is intrigued. 
 
It is called a year-ring and it serves as a narrative of the year that has gone before. 
 
Each year-ring is added to the life-ring and then ultimately they are added to the family-ring, the city-ring the nation-ring and one day the world-ring. All of us are connected to each other, co-existing in the world. 
 
In Moor’s perfectly-paced performance he describes the first intoxicating moments of love, its painful destruction and the slow march to stability so poignantly it is, at times, almost too much to bear. 
 
Each of Us is so bathed in literary and comic riches and gentle truths that there are moments of sigh-out loud recognition which will resonate with anyone who has loved and lost.
Five Star Review
Jane Clinton, Express, 22nd August 2013