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Edward Aczel – Do I Really Have To Communicate With You?

Underbelly
4 stars
When is a show not a show? This is a question audiences may wish to pose to Edward Aczel, whose hour-long oddity pretty much does what it says on the badges he hands out at the end of a performance awash in some Beckettian, joke-free void. After introducing himself off stage (three times), Aczel uses a flip-chart and assorted graphs to monitor the success or otherwise of previous outings, before sharing brief gems of wisdom on topic listed on the back of his hand.

Aczel’s delivery, if that’s not over-stating the case, resembles a lethargic Andy Kaufman re-wired as a post-modern Tommy Cooper, so deliberately shambolic is his gait. Audience interaction teeters on the edge of controlled disaster, and a quiz which flips the question and answer protocol on its head. As an experiment in how honest you can be on a stage without resorting to some desperate-to-impress second-hand shtick, it’s a refreshingly fool-hardy shot in the dark. As a piece of anti-performance live art that questions the relationship between an allegedly funny man onstage and his eager to be pleased front row, Aczel borders on comic (or not) genius.

The Herald, August 2008

ends

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