De Fuut

Bastiaan Vandendriessche
Big in Belgium
Summerhall
to

This solo performance forms part of the large Belgian programme that has brought so much good work to Edinburgh in recent years.

For reasons that are unclear, the hour starts with writer-performer Bastiaan Vandendriessche undressing and changing into a green, flowery kimono.

He then painstakingly relates a story about subject matter that he acknowledges might be offensive. In doing so, while seeming laid-back, he calculatedly uses passive-aggressive techniques which could well embarrass anybody brave enough to sit in his eye line.

The tale, which is presented as autobiographical but almost certainly is not, consists of recollections from the heady days of being a counsellor at a Sea Scout youth camp.

There, the protagonist and his cohorts seem to be sexually obsessed by their juvenile charges, leading to what are presumably tall tales of mildly sexual encounters particularly in the case of our man with a pair called Leda and Emma.

While many might assume that the major problem with De Fuut would be the concentration on illegal sexual activity, as with an acknowledged role model, Lolita, such an approach can be accepted, if frowned upon, in the field of the arts.

However, the real issue with this performance is that both the delivery and the writing have a tendency towards the soporific, even as they try to shock. That may be a deliberate ploy, but if it is the tactic may well backfire with many viewers.

Philip Fisher