Edinburgh Fringe 2013
Relax to the dulcet tones of Richard’s fake songs, topical pranks, silly games, and satirical mashups in his hit show about changing the world. A jetlagged litterpicker of the world’s cultural landfill, watch DeDomenici throw civilisation at the wall, caution to the wind, and see what sticks. Like a can of tomato soup Popaganda is condensed, easily digestible, and likely to stain. ‘Outrageous, hilarious but piercing, a sharp critique of modern myth-making’ **** (Scotsman). ‘The thinking man’s Ashton Kutcher’ (Guardian). ‘Ludicrously funny and daring’ (Total Theatre Magazine). ‘Cerebral, accessible and subversive’ (List), ‘Uniquely wonderful’ (BroadwayBaby.com). ***** (AcrossTheArts.co.uk). www.dedomenici.com/popaganda
Richard DeDomenici is a live-artist. He is presenting Popaganda at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to document how the art he creates appears to have a cumulative world-changing effect. Interspersed with film-documentation of his live-art feats he keeps the audience entertained with silly meme style mash ups and puns.
Popaganda is incredibly funny. My friend left the theatre complaining of a laughter-induced headache and we caused quite a stir in the usually sedate Hunt and Darton Bar as we fell from the theatre space, laughing and recounting jokes to one another. DeDomenici reassured us at the beginning of the piece that Popanganda is ‘ADHD ready’, and it certainly is, flitting from performances to re-dubbed theme tunes and back with the ferociousness of a teenager flipping channels.
DeDomenici is currently working on a series of film re-duxes – to undermine the cultural hegemony of the USA, of course. This includes reshooting the recent Cloud Atlas at the same locations in Glasgow. This process of ‘re-duxing’ is very interesting; played next to the original the audience considers originality in art, pastiche, and the varying budgets of Hollywood and the live artist.
The audience is also treated to snippets from DeDomenici’s attempt to undermine the Olympic torch bearers by running in front of them with a fake torch. These excerpts were very entertaining and showed DeDomenici’s bravado and humour.
There is certainly a lot to take in at Popaganda – this show is packed full – and as the title suggests harnesses a variety of popular culture means to celebrate the silly.
However, beyond the silly, there is not enough coherence. It’s not clear why this show is being performed live as it relies so heavily on the work of the past relayed through the multimedia projections. Popaganda needs something to also be happening in the ‘live’ space in order to justify why we are sitting and watching this at the Hunt and Darton Café, rather than back home on YouTube.
A brief moment of audience interaction was well placed, but too brief to fulfil this need. The performance seemed to be overrunning so we missed the swivel chair antics that other audiences saw. Maybe move this section to earlier in the show so there is no danger of it being missed?
DeDomenici’s persona is likeable and warm, and his crazy stunts are really worth a watch.