Players Review: Who the Fuck is Kaspar Hauser?

So. Tell us. WHO the fuck is he?!

Well (SPOILER ALERT) from what I can gather, he’s usually the front man. But upon opening to the crowd, he has abandoned the remainder of his band and our four protagonists – the aptly named Bass, Guitar, Drums and Sound Man – live on stage, sending them into a series of pretty serious, not to mention warranted emotional breakdowns.

Sounds painful.

Hey, let me finish! It’s a rip-roaringly funny farcical comedy with decided panache, complete with well-placed Damien Rice references.

You forgot to mention the songs, Juliet…

OKAY, okay I’m getting there! It’s also a self-prescribed “play-with-music:” a premise I’m sold on before I even enter the theatre – IF they can deliver it. And they can. The show kicks and punches with raw musical brilliance, matched with evocative dialogue. Aided by some solid production design, the audience is transposed as the waiting crowd, effectively screwing the tension tight as they are made antagonistic by sheer awkwardness yet simultaneously can’t help but empathise with this mishmash of underdogs. Time collapses and we are literally zoomed into the characters’ musings as they scrabble to find a method of coping with Kasper’s absence, usually through ironologues.* Bass directly tells us ‘This is a monologue, by the way.’ It’s oh-so tongue-in-cheek: Guitar pleading Sound Man not to ‘make a big song and dance’ somehow licenses him to do exactly that, complete with full instrumental, and even some cheeky choreo.

A masterpiece of meta-theatre meets pumping, severely eclectic tunes? Yis purlease.

So, you liked it?

It ‘struck a chord’, to say the least!

It threatens to induce a mini-existential crisis with it’s far-too-perceptive outlook; writer Fionn Foley is clearly all-knowing of what it is to be young, arty, and dare we say FUCKEDUP, a dilemma that translates beautifully. The only time I lost sight was about ¾ the way through as inner crises begin to replace the action, musically the ballads started taking charge and the super-emotion become a tad overbearing. However, this fails to detract overall.

Anyone in particular steal the show?

The cast (Claudia Kinahan, Briony Morgan, Richard Durning and Michael-David McKernan) are all ridiculously good looking, and perform nothing short of brilliantly. They all comfortably occupy the triple-threat status: acting, playing and ripping into their pipes with flair. Between Bass’s adorably odd socks, Drummer’s spot-on comic timing, the heartbroken puppy-dog Guitarist (Laura, really now, sort it out), and the endearingly classic about-to-kill-someone pissed-off Sound Man, it’s impossible to pick a stand out. I fancy them all.

Give us the tunes.

‘Suicide Child’ is the catchiest, still rolling round in my head now, but I personally have to favourite ‘Everybody Thinks You’re a Cunt,’ which totally deserved a reprise.

And finally – what, how, when the fuck?

Who the Fuck is Kasper Hauser?, a new musical play-with-music by Fionn Foley. Every day until Saturday at 1pm in the Players Theatre. A decidedly entertaining way to spend your lunch hour.

* i.e. ironic monologues. Yes, I’m a twat.

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