Adelaide Fringe 2011
This is not stand up comedy, not full of one-liners, no fancy costumes, props or lights and it doesn’t include acro, circus or any other actors either. It’s one man, doing it all and doing it with style! Peter Aterman delivers a virtuous one-man show about the eventual surrender Europe is facing to America. It’s funny…but not in the ha-ha way we’re typically exposed to. In fact, one would argue it is better!
Fittingly, the sub title for this show is ‘A requiem for the 20th Century’ as Aterman’s piece is rather a long elegy at the funeral of European history! Aterman, a Toronto writer and performer has written four one-man theatre show. He performs 19 characters (both male and female) in Slaves of Starbucks, which explores the decline of Europe and the rise of America. If you want to see how talented Aterman is, just head to his website to see his list of awards and you’ll know you’re in good hands! Aterman’s ability to shift accents, postures, physicality and gestures is a credit to him particularly when he played a stereotypical American husband and wife having lunch with an Italian tour guide! He never missed a beat!
The list of characters is incredible as Aterman explores the Golden Age of mass culture. No one is safe as Aterman targets JKF, Aztec priests running Wall Street, Celine Dion, the attitude of shopping mall workers, the ignorance of American tourists in Rome and Tennessee figure skaters…just to name a few. What is also a highlight is the extraordinary mime technique Aterman employs and the intricate detail of this skill he carries throughout the entire show.
As Aterman transitions between scenes a melancholy blue light takes over the stage while Aterman dances salsa, pop and various other dance styles. A lovely interlude as we prepare for the next dark satirical monologue.
Director Christopher Caines did an impeccable job ensuring this piece kept you wanting more. The topics are poignant, gripping, unsettling and completely amusing. By far, favourites included the tour to the St Peter’s Cathedral as the tour guide struggled to answer the questions by the boorish American travelers. Another highlight was Wall Street scene where an Aztec Priest was hired to ‘sacrifice college kids to move the market!’
Slaves of Starbucks is a transfixing show highlighting the dangerous direction the world is taking as we move closer to adopting American ideals and concepts, but with something more. Whilst it is a funny look at our current consumerist culture, Aterman points out recent history that has lead us to this current world. He reminds us that although we may cringe over this modern world, we should be thankful, as it is a welcomed preference to the alternatives.
It would be grasping at straws to come up with any areas fro improvement for this sho as it was fully engaging and Aterman’s ability to make it feel as if there were many more players on the stage was very impressive.