THE ABSOLUT FRINGE 2012 has more than 100 shows playing out across Dublin until 23 September. Each day, TheJournal.ie will bring you our readers’ reviews of the pick of the crop and everything in between. You’ll get the chance to get in on the act yourself with our daily reader review tickets giveaway!
Aisling Quigley’s review: Souvenir is a one-man show, set in the majestic new surroundings of the New Theatre – located at the back of a quaint bookstore, Connolly’s of Essex Street.
As you enter the auditorium, the audience sees the back of a man onstage, running at a moderate pace on a treadmill. The stage set is slightly unusual, but works a treat in achieving what it sets out to do – intrigue the audience.
Bush Moukarzel the main and only actor performs as himself. He interacts with the audience throughout and has them in stitches of laughter, on many occasions. He opens the show informing us, he is about to take us through his life journey from birth to now, in his old age! Even though it is clearly apparent, he is of a much younger age, circa 29, this alone has the audience rupturing in laughter.
He gets a male member of the audience to read a script, acting as his “mother” and he plays “himself”, again a humours script, but the funniest part is where he compliments the volunteer for “nailing the part of his mother” , however he doesn’t quite think he played himself very well!
He makes the audience ask themselves questions (internally of course: “If you were to travel back in time, to cave-man times, and explain to them the wonders of our world: matches – glass – electricity, would you be able to show them how to make these things?”
A cheeky and clever line follows: “Just because you can talk about something, doesn’t mean you know anything about it”.
He also has a beautiful method in teasing the audience and engaging with them, by helping them relate to how we think in today’s society. “Why do we read books? – is it for our own knowledge, or is it so we have something to talk about at parties and seem like we know what we are talking about?”
The show itself is so abstract; at times you just can’t predict where it will take you. Music floods the theatre at different intervals; it even goes as far as having a strobe lighting meltdown scene (due to a nasty break-up), and then a funny but slightly odd and aggressive, jealous nightclub scene (accusing his then-girlfriend of being a lesbian).
Bush displays so many emotions, so well, that he holds the audiences attention throughout. During his fits of anger (few at that) he has them squirming in their seats uncomfortably; during his bouts of happiness, he has everyone laughing and joking along. I could see him play a really good villain, one that the audience would hate, but at the same time, his stage family/friends would adore.
The play is filled with amazing little one-liners and questions, which give it that Proust feel. When referring to the audience he says, “the French use the word spectators and the Irish use the word audience: audience meaning listeners, and spectators meaning watchers– interesting!”
The play itself is an hour in duration and if you ask me it’s an hour of your life well spent. It’s different, it’s fun, it’s thought-provoking and you get to partake in your own little (surprise!) journey.