Prague Fringe 2012
Festival: Prague Fringe
Marcel Mohab is a fascinating and wacky performer who sometimes rides his jokes too long, but still manages to provide a great hour of entertainment.
Marcel Mohab’s Animal Fun starts with a little bit of music and the appearance of a foot here and a hand there. There’s the spray of a water gun and then our lead man hits the stage in a suit and sneakers. Firstly Marcel Mohab clears up that we’re watching Animal Fun and not to expect any insight into communism. He asks the audience if they like magic tricks and then agrees to perform one while confessing that he thinks they’re lame. An invisible deck of cards starts out as an average gag, is extended to the point of being funny for its absurdity, and then just keeps going to a point of slight discomfort. A lot of the jokes are milked to perfection but sometimes they are milked dry and then bleeding. Perhaps that’s where the joke becomes funnier for the actor than the performer, but having your patience pressed seems to be an intended part of watching Animal Fun.
The show progresses with a series of lazzis which consistently lined my face with a smirk and drew jots of laughter from the audience. Marcel takes on a series of animal impressions and depicts scenarios which circumnavigate expectation. We watch strangers meet in parks, electrocution at the wrong time, fruits change shape and dogs get eaten. There’s also a lot of like, yeah, you know, cool, yeah, like, just like, bits where, you know, cool, okay, yeah, nothing’s happening, but like, yeah, somehow, it’s like, amusing, you know? Even though I hurt my eyes from rolling them so much, Animal Fun is seriously fun. It is simultaneously stupid and smart, with sharpened wit and blunt obviousness.
Early in the show I found myself wondering if the engaging personas, impressive physical performance, comically rhythmic speech and eclectic sketches would build together to a bigger point. How would Mohab not only entertain the audience but satisy them? Roughly the last third of the show takes us to the beach. A series of shark attacks build together and create a space for a grand finale that definitely gives what could have been an unshaped piece of theatre a quenching sense of ending. Still, don’t come in expecting a traditional storyline. Enjoyment? Yes. Insight? Yes. Narrative? Just a skerrick.
There’s a delicate sense of truth dressed as irony in this work. When a fringe artist takes on a stage persona of a failing artist I can’t help but feel that the throw away jokes about wanting more attention from your parents or just wanting to be watched by anyone have some streak of truth. Luckily for the audience and Mohab alike, he is a genuine talent dressing up as a failure for the amusement of all.
Animal Fun is brain stretching pleasure with plenty of laughs. Some people might have the humour bypass them, but then that’s their loss. Go see it.