Review | Tatterdemalion is wonderfully absurd

Tatterdemalion | Casa Mondo | til Feb 25th | ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Fringe World implores us to “Forget Boring.” Tatterdemalion is wonderfully absurd. It’s surreal, it’s silly, it’s clever, it’s funny, it’s even a little confusing at times — one thing it never it could never be called is boring.

Tatterdemalion — and I’m unsure if that’s the name of the actor, the show, or both, but the sentiment applies equally either way — is little short of genius.

As far as I can tell, there was no central theme or narrative running through the show that connected Tatterdemalion’s various sketches. Don’t let that put you off. Each of Tatterdemalion’s individual vignettes is strange and delightful. Sometimes there is straight up silliness you can spot coming a mile away, there is a particular scene of trying to put on a pair of boots. As soon as the boots come out you know what will follow, yet it arrives executed with great humour and enjoyment, and the laughter that greets the ridiculous scene is entirely genuine.

I hesitate to criticise Tatterdemalion‘s obvious talent, but one part felt slightly jarring. (mimed) guns reappear several times in the show, usually with comic effect. However, one part with a mimed execution-by-shooting of a train passenger without a ticket felt a little unnecessary. Maybe I missed a wider point about abuse of power, it’s not out of the question, but this one part pulled me out of the moment for a minute.

Through no fault of Tatterdemalion‘s, some of the enjoyment of the show were spoilt by audience members who either didn’t know what they were going to, or had misjudged it entirely. While nobody is obliged to sit through a show they aren’t enjoying, you’re not doing anyone any favours, you do have to wonder what other appointment was so pressing to need whispers of “Can we go now?” This seemed disrespectful to Tatterdemalion, who could probably hear these whispers in the cosy Casa Mondo, if I could hear from a different row.

Make no mistake, Tatterdemalion is some very fine physical theatre, and physical it certainly is. The actor throws himself, sometimes literally, into the part with his entire self, completely embodying each clownish part he plays without hesitation. Tatterdemalion shows us what physical clowning can be really like, and how funny it is, when it is treated like real theatre.

Trust Fringe; go into Tatterdemalion with an open mind, and just enjoy this funny, absurd show — because you won’t be bored. Head to fringeworld.com.au for tickets and more info.

James Chesters


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