[2011014] Nothing Is Really Difficult: Niets Is Echt Moeilijk

Nothing Is Really Difficult: Niets Is Echt Moeilijk [FringeTIX]

Theatergroep WAK @ the big wooden box

8:30pm, Sun 13 Feb 2011

Sitting in The Garden’s deckchairs and watching WAK’s spruiking whilst sipping a beer has been one of the real decadent pleasures of this Fringe so far; their hilariously out-of-place-and-time dancing, combined with their wacky accented messages (“That is Toon. He is the star of the show… he is single”) and penchant for chasing unsuspecting Garden-patrons with the chunks of wood that constitute their flyers… it’s good, clean, silly fun.

There’s a frantic search for a “lost” mobile phone before we head in for this performance; once inside the big wooden box (oooh! that lovely smell of …wood!) there’s ample stepped seating and… a big, blank, performance space. The lights suddenly go out; through the cracks in the floorboards, fingers of light struggle through and land on the back wall. The light moves under the floor until it reaches the corner of the space; the floor folds up, and up creeps one of the three WAK performers.

Attaching his lamp to the wall, he plays with shadows, using an outstretched arm to open a door on the opposite side of the room. Another man appears, bursting through the wall and leaving a cartoonish silhouette in his wake; there’s a bit of competitive posturing, and then the sense that the men are trying to find their way out of the space.

There’s a loud crack as a hole in the roof gets kicked in; fragments of wood fall into the space. Once the hole is cleared, a rope descends – and is dropped. There’s a laugh from the crowd, and a sense that things are going to get silly. And that sense is accurate; soon the men are engaging in crotch-mangling one-upmanship, there’s a protracted segment of (literal) toilet humour, and it’s all good… I’m really enjoying myself, watching these three mute Dutch men.

But then the unmistakable opening chords of Eye of the Tiger start up, and one of the guys is running in circles within the box. The other two synchronise, running around him with a napkin, a glass of wine, a table, chairs… the table is dropped in the runner’s path, he sits at it, and suddenly the scene is of demoralising domesticity.

And they’ve suddenly completely lost me.

It’s just not funny anymore – at best, it’s just curious. And the performance sputters along in this moribund manner until a bang extinguishes the lights, leaving much of the audience in hesitant disbelief. They – well, I – reluctantly clap the end of the performance.

Look – there’s no doubting the talents of the Dutch lads. It’s an odd collection of mime and more physical interaction, but I can’t help but think that there’s a disconnect between the native comedy psyche of their country and mine. Because, whilst there was a delighted grin on my face for the first half of the performance, there most certainly wasn’t for the remainder. So unfortunately, I have to concede that, for me, the spruiking is funnier than the act itself.

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