The Crying Cherry ***

C Chambers Street, 5 – 21 August 2010

Reviewed for the British Theatre Guide

Two Dutchmen in shellsuits sending up Asian culture and traditions, armed with mime-katanas and a borderline offensive pidgin Chipanglish semi-nonsense language? This is what the Fringe is for: the shows you just couldn’t get away with anywhere else.

So there’s a prophecy and a destined battle and so on, but that’s not especially important. In fact, the plot is so unimportant that it’s provided nearly in full in a helpful explanatory pre-show pamphlet, so no one gets to grump about not being able to follow what’s going on.

What is important, at least to performers Ian Bok and Maarten Heijmans, is the way it’s told: with conventions lovingly harvested from Noh theatre and kung fu action cinema and equally lovingly processed through the parody mincer.

Dignified, ceremonial chants and processions are undermined by Heijmans’ strained, bulging eyes, or by their application to such banal tasks as eating a banana. The inevitable showdown is a (mimed) splatterfest of horrific (mimed) injuries and implausibly macho (mimed) recoveries. It’s gloriously silly and arguably meaningless; there’s no better place for it than the Fringe.

Devised by Ian Bok and Maarten Heijmans

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