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Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Cactus: The Seduction
This multi award-winner is both an irresistible love story and a carnival of boundless imaginings. Directed by Mark Chavez of Pajama Men
Cactus: The Seduction
Though wonderfully executed, Cactus: The Seduction wears its cleverness rather too prominently on its sleeve, slipping too easily into pretentiousness and too reluctantly into funny.
Poor Jonno Katz, whose award-winning clown-like performance this is, doesn’t even warrant a mention in this show’s entry Fringe programme – although the show’s director Mark Chavez does. But then again, he is half of the awesome Pajama Men.
So it’s unsurprising that Cactus shares some characteristics with Chavez’s own act: switching between multiple characters (with a supporting cast that gets as obscure as a pair of scorpions) and featuring a heavy dollop of physical comedy, with scenes of gory excess conveyed only in mime.
Part of this tale is told as a New Zealand narrator called Phil, telling the story of when he went walking through a desert of loneliness with Russian companion Yuri and Brit Eric, ostensibly in search of love but metaphorically on a journey of self-discovery as they swap tall tales and small talk.
In whatever guise, Katz works the room expertly, though the script is droll rather than hilarious. A couple of lines stand out, though, including a witty stand-up routine about lost virginity. Though hard-earned points are lost for making the audience fake an orgasm in a cheap bit of participation.
Other than this, the wonderfully expressive Katz often mocks his own script’s highfalutin aims, but making light of the fact doesn’t quite negate them; while the mime elements, though expertly performed, never really seemed to make a connection.
It’s an ambitious attempt to meld various styles into one coherent piece of theatrical comedy, but the isolated moments of funny don’t gel into a more satisfying whole.
|Date of live review: Monday 23rd Aug, '10|
Review by Steve Bennett
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