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The Two O'Clock Show
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2012
From the multi award-winning creators of Angus, Ecstatic comes this odd collection of dancing characters all bound together by a true story. Highly Commended John Chataway Innovation Award 2012, Melbourne Fringe Festival winner of Best Comedy 2010, Auckland Fringe Festival winner of Best Comedy 2011.
Truth: Fringe 2012
Vachel Spirason performs like a man possessed… which may or may not be apt, depending on whether the ambiguous plot of this manic multi-character piece is what it appears to be.
The signs are not good as before the show even begins, the audience are immediately greeted by this strange lanky man, dressed only in grubby boxers and vest. The powerful suspicion is that nothing good could start this way. When he tells us that some mime is on the menu, expectations take another dive.
Yet this is an infectiously spirited, tour-de-force performance of an ambitiously strange story, made both accessible and hilarious by the sheer force of his personality. In essence, he’s telling us of a bizarre encounter with a naked man in the woods of a small New Zealand island; a stranger who gave him a package that would change his life – but it’s more winding a story than that.
As he regales us with his tale, he transforms into apparently unrelated characters, sparked whenever he grasps the plasma globe on stage. The first is a tragically lonely man in a neck brace – the mime we had been threatened with. He has made a checklist of potential friends, scratching a couple off in every pathos-laden scene in which he appears.
The rest of the characters are decidedly more upbeat. They include Juan, a spangly Spanish dancer who become vexed when people laugh at moves he thinks are intensely serious; a flamboyant ice-dancer and a Czech chess champion who has designed a high-energy workout routine around the game. All are energetic physical comedy sets that whoop the audience up into an excited state – only to be dropped again when neck-brace man again appears.
On paper, some of this jumbled plot and artistic flourishes might sound pretentious, but in practice, that’s not a concern. The uncertainty adds depth, but in this show Spirason’s a crowd-pleaser first and foremost and his larger-than-life characters all fulfil that brief. Compared to his 2011 show The Hermitude of Angus, Ecstatic, which was tender but a little dull, there’s not a slack moment in this hour of bold physicality and hilarious visual gags.
It’s not an entirely solo effort, as Spirason co-wrote the piece with Stephanie Brotchie, whose hand we occasionally glimpse handing him props through holes in the scenery. And together their plot eventually ties up all the strands of the madness, creating a satisfying ending to all the knockabout fun.
Comedy is truth, and Truth is a pretty darned good comedy.
|Date of live review: Sunday 19th Aug, '12|
Review by Steve Bennett
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