Zach & Viggo and Thumpasaurus: Where Does The Love Go? | Edinburgh Fringe review by Steve Bennett
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Zach & Viggo and Thumpasaurus: Where Does The Love Go?

Edinburgh Fringe review by Steve Bennett

Zach & Viggo have so much buoyant, effervescent energy that only the sourest of pusses wouldn’t have a great time in their lively company. Add a five-piece funk band and it’s got to be party time.

Sure enough, the absurdist musical on which they have collaborated, Where Does The Love Go? rides a tide of playful high-sprits that washes over the audience.

Yet it’s also very underdeveloped. While being cheerfully rough around the edges is very much part of the Norwegian-American duo’s brand, this story is too slight and patchily scripted even for them to hold it together for a full hour. But they put up a good fight.

The premise is that in a near future, Jeff Bezos’ Amazon has won a space war against Elon Musk, which isn’t otherwise mentioned beyond the intro. Now the tax-averse billionaire has unveiled the next generation of his Alexa artificial intelligence. Meet Alexo, a lifelike android (he looks very much like one Zach Zucker as it happens) designed with a sinister motive, and who has to come to terms with the fact he’s not a real human.

The funniest exchanges come between him and his creator Geppetto (Viggo Venn), an unsubtle character name just in case you missed any Pinocchio references that are heavily laid on. When Bezos (played with rasping villainy by Z&V’s usual director Jonny Woolley) bumps off Geppetto, Alexo goes on a quest for revenge that, other than a short detour to a bar with a great vibe, is remarkably straightforward.

A few more twists and turns might have made this seem less flimsy – especially compared to other preposterously overblown epics on a microbudget that have become such a Fringe staple – just as a few more scripted jokes might have added some heft to the mischievous physical humour the core pair execute so well. Of course, a show about Amazon turns out to be all about the delivery.

Thumpasaurus are also underused. Save for a catchy, funky theme tune, they mostly just noodle away under the action, adding ambience but rarely letting loose. They do get to become a Hydra for our hero to slay at one point, though. 

This isn’t a full-blown musical, although maybe one day it could be, as Where Does The Love Go? very much seems like a work in progress. An enthusiastic, fun work in progress, but unfinished nonetheless.

Review date: 16 Aug 2018
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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