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  • Khaled ElSamman

Let it Burn: To Laugh is to Resist

Gothenburg Fringe 2022 in review - Let it Burn

Let it Burn was performed at Gothenburg Fringe 2022 Festival. It is a dark comedy show created by Andrew Sim, who plays Linda, an unhinged, bold, and yet lighthearted woman who is not afraid to laugh uproariously in the face of the corrupt and the unjust.

I would not be overstating to say that Andrew Sim’s Linda is reminiscing of Heath Ledger’s Joker. Linda’s darkness, slapdash makeup, clownesque mannerisms, and ambiguous origins augmented by the high octave phonation and the sardonic laugh, make that comparison rather compelling. Andrew’s deep immersion in such an intricate character made me wonder halfway through the show if Sim created Linda or if it was the other way around.

Imagine a ventriloquist dummy coming to life with complete free will and agency to have its own solo show. That warm-blooded dummy is Linda, and Let it Burn is her show. She even has a nickname for the ventriloquist, she calls him “the little Scottish boy”. The act reflects on an array of topics: climate change, anthropocentrism, corporate control, religious bigotry and hypocrisy, and many others. All wrapped in unapologetic, grotesque and side-splitting punchlines.

The audience came to the 50-minute-long show with the expectation of laughing at Linda, but they ended up laughing with her. There is no better way to describe that experience than Wylie Sypher’s words: “To be able to laugh at evil and error means that we have surmounted them.”

You can watch Linda performing at the Gaukurinn Bar in Reykjavik, Iceland on 20 October, 17 November and 14 December. I highly recommend it if you are a fan of dark, with shades of blue, comedy.

Becoming Linda. Uros Hocevar accompanies Andrew Sim preparing and performing Let it Burn as Linda during Gothenburg Fringe.

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