The song that goes, "Istanbul was Constantinople, now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople," has been on such high rotation in my head since this show that the words don't sound like English anymore. Constantinople is a funny show made by two Kiwi-dudes (one that looks like Jesus, one that looks like Frank Zappa would if he played rugby) in togas. Rather than being a documentary-level history of the once-Roman, now-Turkish city, the concept really just provides an excuse to crack a million jokes that are funny in the way that Eurovision is funny.
I thought it was a bit of slow-starter, but that could just be considered the light lead-in. Constantinople develops into a tightly choreographed, physical gag heavy hour of play. Every moment throws up a new witty one-liner – which are sometimes glorious in their horrendousness – or opportunity to exploit the fact that one man on stage is a gigantor, and the other more modestly statured. The repartee and physical representations are intelligent and witty, always aiming to undercut the conventional and expected.
The professionalism of the performances is a highlight. It jarrs transcendently with the show's DIY aesthetic. The slick timing creates brilliant moments right through to the end and the discotheque scene in particular would easily have won the Red Faces segment on Hey, Hey, It's Saturday! back in the day. The other triumph is their ability to make a simple premise, like two horses talking to each other, grow exponentially and support both the narrative and many more jokes.
2012 Adelaide Fringe Festival
Directed by Barnie Duncan
Venue: The Campanile | Garden Of Unearthly Delights Adelaide
Dates: 17 Feb - 18 Mar, 2012
Tickets: $24 - $20
Bookings: 1300 374 643 | www.adelaidefringe.com.au