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Ceri’s whirlwind reviews – Part 2

Gothenburg Fringe 2022 in review - Garry Starr: Greece Lightning, Nick Jameson: A Crowd of One, Dreams of The Man Who Never Slept

Ceri Taylor was one of our star volunteers at this year’s Fringe, diving straight into helping us after arriving in town for an exchange year from Plymouth. Alongside working hard throughout the Fringe, Ceri made sure to catch a variety of performances during the week and has compiled a series of reviews. Here is another collection of varied performances.

Garry Starr: Greece Lightning

Back home in the UK, I am an English major. Stepping into a university classroom this time last year, I was given an enormous book and instructed to read it front to back. I expected to meet the characters from The Odyssey again at some point - but not quite like this.

Damien Warren-Smith’s character Garry Starr showcases his multitude of talents in this slapstick re-telling of some of the most famous tales from Greek mythology. Packed with props, and audience participation and filled to the brim with chaotic goodness.

The audience embarked on a whistle-stop tour through the ages with catchy musical numbers, spontaneous dance breaks, and epic recitals ‘dripping’ with conviction all culminating in one of the most daring exit scenes in the w(hole) of the Gothenburg Fringe.

Even hiding away at the back won’t save you from the wrath of Zeus - next time it could be you who has to run fast enough to escape Medusa’s stony gaze, or don boxing gloves to fight a three-headed dog or - prepare yourself - try not to freak out if Narcissus gives you an imaginary mirror to hold!

Still not quite sure if I saw a fantastic show or just had an incredibly vivid fever dream. It’s all Greek to me!

Garry Starr: Greece Lightning | Photo: Uros Hocevar / kolektiff

Nick Jameson: A Crowd of One

The double-edged sword of the Gothenburg Fringe Festival is that there are so many incredible shows at so many beautiful venues that one person simply does not have time to see them all. This can mean that spectacular shows sometimes play to slightly smaller audiences. Nick Jameson and the chorus of nagging voices inside his head (otherwise known as his crowd of one) need much more than a rather thin crowd to stifle their tremendous creative talents.

I am fascinated by the improvisation process, and it is a skill that I simply do not have. When I get picked on in the audience my mind goes blank and I forget how to talk, which is exactly what I did when Nick (playing a stereotypical army general with flashes of surprisingly endearing vulnerability) shouted at me from on the stage and complimented my overalls. Give Nick Jameson an imaginary superhero - on my night it was ‘pickle lady’ - and he creates a three-minute catchy song with witty lyrics accompanied brilliantly on acoustic guitar. I still have the song stuck in my head right now!

If you want to add musical comedy, stereotypical digs about the Icelandic population and see Nick Jameson break into spontaneous press-ups on stage then be sure to catch him the next time he is in town. Fill the room and give him lots of material to work with but be warned - he might just pick on you!

Nick Jameson | Photo: Uros Hocevar / kolektiff

Dreams of The Man Who Never Slept by Mario Moroni

Time is a beautiful concept. Philosophical, theoretical. There is only one problem: it passes.

Mario Moroni takes us on an eerily profound immersive journey through time with his collection of poetry entitled The Dreams of the Man Who Never Slept. The architectural beauty of the 18th century Gathenhielmska Huset added to the feeling of complete transportation to this spoken word performance, with its exquisite chandelier hanging overhead and masterful paintings adorning the walls.

Mario uses various forms of media to perform his poetry, including turning his voice into a booming surround sound with the help of a rigged microphone and a classic projection screen throwing up mesmerising images, one melting into the other reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland to the tune of a strong and ever-ticking metronome.

I don’t pretend to be scholarly gifted enough to understand the meaning of Mario’s poetry. Walking into a room and flipping to the back of the pamphlet detailing all his academic achievements might make you feel a little intimidated. However, you don’t need to come away with a comprehensive understanding of what you just heard. You don’t even need to speak the language - Mario treated us to a poem read in his native Italian tongue with the English translation dripping into the frame at the back.

The beauty of Dreams of The Man Who Never Slept is that it’s such an effective immersive experience that all you need to do is sit quietly and watch, and let the hypnotic audio-visual effects wash around you like music.

Come to the Gothenburg Fringe Festival next time to catch more hidden gems like this.

Time marches on. Tick. Tick. Tick.

Dreams of The Man Who Never Slept by Mario Moroni | Photo: Sophia Kontopoulou

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