Most shows in Edinburgh don’t do a programme. This one, by contrast, has quite a nicely printed job. This is a boon for your reviewer, as it gives and gives and gives again.
Example. One of the performers is ‘a qualified fart designer’. Good on him. Another: ‘a member of the National Institute for Kazoo Playing’. Clear evidence of a misspent youth. This important organization proudly boasts its own acronym – NIKP. This is probably how your lips feel after a sustained burst of kazoo playing.
And then there’s the director. Ah yes, the director. He’s also ‘Actor, Teacher, Mask-Maker, Writer, Composer &…’, wait for it, ‘…Comicologist’. Answers on a postcard, please. I worried briefly that he sounded a little under-qualified. But there’s more. He is, you'll be pleased to learn, ‘an internationally renowned artist held in the highest regard with whomever he works’. Oh well, that’s all right then.
But wait. It gets better. He's also ‘one of the world’s most accomplished mask-makers, creating leather Commedia masks of upsetting plastic beauty and a steadfast theatrical effectiveness.’ So why oh why, one feels obliged to ask, did he create two masks for this show that totally obscure the actors’ faces, rendering their performances both inscrutable and largely unintelligible?
If I focus on the programme, it’s because it’s far and away the most interesting aspect of this ludicrous show. I do honestly believe it’s the single worst production I’ve ever seen in my entire life. I have a question, though, for whichever benighted moron at Arts Council England decided to spend one single penny of my and other peoples’ tax dollars to give it 'generous support': WHY? To call it a dog would be a wholly unwarranted insult to the entire canine and lupine world.
Oh dear God in Heaven, put it out of its misery, please.
- Craig Singer