Left – Tim Reuben, Claire Lovering, Eden Lacey, Paige Gardiner, Gareth Holcombe. Photo – Kate Williams
Mr Kolpert is one of the best things I’ve seen this year. This darkly fantastical comedy is mesmerising and rib-achingly hilarious. In recent years, pantsguys have proved to be a company to watch, and with this show, they deliver another winner. I thought it was so, so fabulous.
Ralf (Tim Reuben) and Sarah (Claire Lovering) are hosting a dinner party. Their guests are Sarah’s work collegue Edith (Paige Gardiner) and her husband Bastian (Garth Holcombe). But the timing is slightly awkward, because this is also the night of Ralf and Sarah’s first murder – the murder of Mr Kolpert, the terminally boring and bushy-eyebrowed man that works with Sarah and Edith. Or did they murder him at all? They seem unusually willing to talk about it. Is it just an extremely bad joke? And will they ever get their pizza order right?
Pretty much the only thing I can criticise about this show is their over-reliance on the smoke machine (smoke was billowing out of the doors and into the air over Sydney Harbour before the doors to the auditorium even opened – I was worried briefly that something was on fire!). This is black comedy perfectly delivered – restrained when it needed to be, and absolutely going for it when the script demanded it. I haven’t laughed so hard or been so absorbed in a theatre this year. This was an absolutely wonderful production of an extremely difficult script.
The star of the show has to be Paige Gardiner as Edith – her nervous laughter/screams of terror at the revelation that Sarah and Ralf might have murdered Mr Kolpert at the beginning of the show neatly give way to the denouement of the play, where her true self is revealed. She is ably supported by Garth Holcombe as Bastian. I still remember (and often talk about) his performance a few years ago in The Pigeons, another German farce, and he proves here that he is perfectly suited to the form, with a performance part understated, part HILARIOUSLY OVERSTATED. Claire Lovering and Tim Reuben are brilliant as Sarah and Ralf, and in his small role as the pizza boy, Edan Lacey shines. As much as he is able to, through the blood.
(And can we talk about the scene where they play celebrity heads? OMG, you guys. I can’t remember when the last time I laughed so hard.)
This show is awesome. There are really no other words for it. I can’t remember when I simply enjoyed a theatre-going experience so much. If you even vaguely like black comedy, this is the show for you. I thoroughly intend to go and see it again, and you should too. 100% recommended.
pantsguys Productions present
by David Gieselmann
Director James Dalton
Venue: atyp Studio 1 | Pier 4/5 Hickson Rd, Walsh Bay
Dates: 30 July – 16 August 2014
Bookings: www.atyp.com.au | 02 9270 2400