Words: Michael Whitham
Much of this year’s Fringe programme seems to be concerned with what theatre is. What are its boundaries? What does it ask of an audience, and what is promised in return? How much of what we see makes sense, and does that matter? The latest offering from masters of genre-bending mischief Ontroerend Goed is a polished and precise exploration of those themes. The company toys with the most elemental building blocks of theatre-making: the beginning, the end, the characters, the story and – most memorably – the curtains, which are used here to create a beautiful and mesmerising piece of physical performance. Everything about making a play is destabilised and disassembled, before being pieced back together into new and unexpected shapes. The pace and tone are gently humorous and whimsical and the play lacks the confrontation of much of Ontroerend Goed’s more provocative work, but that is not a criticism. I was both amused and confused in equal, enjoyable measures. This is a thoroughly entertaining hour of unexpected strangeness and absurdity, which raises as many smiles as it does questions.