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ARM

Kathleen Wijnen and Erik Bassier
Mireille & Mathieu, Richard Jordan Productions, Theatre Royal Plymouth in conjunction with Big in Belguim and Summerhall
The Drum, Theatre Royal Plymouth
to

As talented and personable as Kathleen Wijnen and Erik Bassier may be, this was just not for me.

The brilliant premise of myriad objects unpacked at a flea market provoking stories and absurdity is diminished by a series of self-indulgent ridiculousness, most of which had a glimmer of promise and humour swiftly drowned by being overlong or just missed the mark.

Bounding about the stage like overgrown children, Belgium's absurdist company Big’s long-serving duo deliver fast and frequent—often clever—sketches with galloping ironing boards, a plethora of yellow Y-fronts and ever-smaller dromedaries galore.

Agile puppetry with blankets, bunnies and Barbies, stinky socks escaping from a suitcase and teddy bear hide and seek give way to garden gnomes fishing in landscape paintings, dog walking and grotesque singing dolls. There’s a crucified pumped Ken whizzing about performing aerobatics on his cross, frantic fatal flamenco repeated ad tedium, falling over and water thrown.

Vignettes and skits strung together by no more than a glut of discarded detritus screech to a halt after a very long 50 minutes—although I’m sure the matador mangling would have been extended to the full hour had there been a sufficient show of hands.

Tedious and divisive but, love it or not, there is no denying the talent of the players.

Reviewer: Karen Bussell