By the end of Mr Kolpert, the stage floor is covered in blood, sick and tiramisu. This, I feel, is perhaps the best way of summing up the bizarre turn of the events that mark David Gieselmann's one hour play. It isn't real sick or blood that gradually pools towards the audience's; feet but, in a performance that delivers a shock of an ending, both funny and deeply unsettling, you do wonder.
The premise is simple. Boring, middle aged couple Sarah and Ralph invite equally boring couple Edith and Bastian over for pizza. The hitch is that all four are stark raving mad. The ensemble cast may play the part of well-intentioned middle class surburbanites, with their plumy accents and plain clothes, but from the outset their interactions probe the absurd. In particular, Damian Lynch as the bad tempered Bastian wonderfully encapsulates the play's twisted humour in an intentionally hysterical performance.
Our title character, Mr Kolpert, is strangely absent. But perhaps this is because Sarah and Ralph have, quite happily, confessed to murdering him and placing him in the trunk that Edith primly sits upon. "Have they murdered him, or are they joking?"; the woman next to me whispers to her companion. That, my friend, is the question.
If you';re looking for an evening of subtlety and intrigue, Mr Kolpert is not for you. What it does offer is an almost exhilarating abandonment of expectation, and the thrill of ditching societal norms. At rip-roaring pace it tears up the black comedy rule book and, boasted by five fantastic and brave performances, makes for a memorable, and utterly ridiculous, evening.