Sunday, 17 August 2014

Where The World Is Going, That's Where We Are Going

Summerhall
Three stars
Neil Cooper
It probably isn't essential for audiences to know the inner workings of
eighteenth century French philosopher  Denis Diderot's novel, Jacques
the Fatalist and His Master, before coming to see the Hof van Eede
company's contribution to the Fringe's Big in Belgium strand, but it
might help. Jacques, after all, was one of the earliest known novels to
mix up the fictional form in a way that questioned the very essence of
what a novel could be whilst also offering up a treatise on free will.
Post-modernism before it's time, as one of this show's scholarly
protagonists wryly observes.

Things begin casually, with a bookish young man and woman who may or
may not be a couple declaring their intention to introduce Diderot's
ideas to us as they might in a lecture or a book group. Over the next
hour of flirtation, bickering, misunderstandings and sixth form level
misinterpretations of personal politics, the pair skirt around each
other in a discursive and wilfully without punchline piece of
self-referential meta-theatre.

  Amongst a series of fascinating elucidations on Amazonian archers,
true love and other great adventures, one is reminded both of Ronnie
Corbett's weekly armchair monologues on The Two Ronnies, as well as the
regular opening exchanges between the happy couple giving their own
particular and often contradictory versions of events in 1970s sit-com,
No Honestly. While neither of these reference points are likely to be
big in Belgium, they're no more out there than other exchanges in Ans
and Louise Van den Eede's script. By the time performers Jeroen Van Der
Ven and Ans Van den Eede go onto the streets by way of a short filmed
epilogue, mutual understanding has evolved into something else in this
quietly witty extended literary gag which invites audiences to do as
they please.

The Herald, August 14th 2014

ends

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