Brighton Fringe 2013
Life isn’t complicated: it just requires the right type of effort, applied in the correct direction, and an appropriate choice of wall – or so says Larry. But how happy is he? A compact performance-lecture with props, puppets and poetry, en route to a mid-life epiphany.
There are a few seconds of enlightenment in this performance, say the two actors on stage – concentrate! Empty the mind! Don’t laugh! This last is of course is an impossible diktat in this show. Inconvenience Spoof are romping through fields of rationality and religion, with a compressed history of the development of the human race thrown in for good measure. The temptation with a show like this is to recount some of the best gags, to tell how a drunken spider might support themselves in a urinal, to report the actual words of the fly’s glee at finding that which a human counterpart finds disgusting. It’s interesting how some of the more scatological aspects stick in the mind, because by and large Inconvenience Spoof have lots more jokes about solipsism, the reasons for having TV, world religions, therapy and New Age nonsense.
Their props are inventive and hilarious, as are the costumes – the fly and the spider were particular highlights. There is the puppet of early man and the depiction of his encounter with a gorilla, widely out of scale, and all the funnier for the discontinuity.
It’s all really sharply performed as well – there’s always a temptation in this kind of comedy just to get a little too cosy with the audience, but Inconvenience Spoof keep this balance exactly right, they are engaging without being obsequious. And there’s some genuinely interesting searching going on here – why is the fly’s experience of the world so different from mine? and why should I value one above the other? muses our unfortunate rationalist. Well it made the audience laugh throughout anyway.
The robot and the helicopter incident is well developed and inventive slapstick. They go all the way from “Show me the way to go home” to “Show me the way to go Om”. It all sounds a bit bitty and random, but it isn’t – somehow they keep a surreal narrative thread that keeps it all together.
There are good jokes and great timing, a fun set and costumes, satirical asides and slapstick, poo jokes and philosophy, and occasional bracing dips into the sea of profundity from which you might emerge cold, wet and puzzled, but someone will be there with a warm towel – that’s what it felt like. At the end of the show I may not have been enlightened, but I was thoroughly entertained: one of those shows that you want to tell your friends to go and see, even if you can’t resist telling them all the best jokes before they go.