Resa Fantastiskt Mystisk
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2001
LA comedy troupe Burglars of Hamm present this recently unearthed masterpiece by Swedish (?) playwright/provocateur Lars Mattsun.
This show has an absolutely brilliant gimmick. One that's such a fantastic idea that you wonder why, in these days when everyone's using multimedia, that nobody ever thought of it before.
And that inspired device is an audio commentary. Running asides about the on-stage action transmitted to a headset provided to every member of the audience.
Such a gadget is necessary, you see, because this is a presentation of the often impenetrable metaphysical work of the great Lars Mattsun - the complex, obscure and, of course, entirely fictional, Swedish playwright.
And as the supposed masterpiece unfolds, its director explains in unnecessary detail what hidden meanings lie in the text.
So far, so good. But this could be in danger of being a one-gag show, even if that gag is a good one.
However, the joy is in how this fabulous Californian troupe slowly cranks up the comedy pressure. Enjoyment builds and builds as the stakes are raised, the director's voiceover becoming increasingly ridiculous, and then frustrated, as the actors fail to share his vision of the work.
This spot-on satire on artistic pretensions crescendos to a beautifully explosive climax, which then suddenly twists into something else just when you thought you'd got the measure of it all.
It's all very funny, a brilliant example of how comedy at its best can really work the emotions, and, above all, a truly memorable night out.