This week we’ve given PYT Advanced students the opportunity to develop their critical writing skills and share their personal opinions on our blog by reviewing Prague Fringe events. The festival runs from 26th May-3rd June.
Megan Meunier reviews the eighth day…
Day 8- Friday 2nd June
Friday was a special day for me. This Friday was a day that I planned out with my little brother to take him to as many shows as I could find that were vaguely related to his interests. Of course we both loved the Men with Coconuts last year so we planned both them and MC Hammersmith. He loves puns so I chose Phrases Ready to see between the other two, Age of Consequence was a wild card and I picked out Life of Pepito because I figured a comedy was great way to end the evening.
We went off running out of the house to Divadlo Inspirace to see MC Hammersmith and Friends at a quarter past five. I do not pretend to be completely unbiased here. I first saw Will Naameh in TBC (To Be Continued) in 2014 at the Prague Fringe and that was my first experience of improv. I was actually so in love with the show that I showed up the very next day and was incredibly embarrassed when they recognised me from the day before – because I hadn’t changed my clothes since then. So I was not surprised to adore MC Hammersmith. Will is an unbelievable free style rapper and he’s also hilarious. These guys are my top pick at the Fringe every year and still are. The show was very cute as it centred on Hammersmith’s love life, or lack of one, and searched for a valentine and true love in the audience. It was just plain brilliant.
The show ended five minutes over, which wouldn’t ordinarily be a problem but the next show was Phrases Ready in 3+1 which we had to jump on a tram to get to in time. My little brother, who adores puns, rated this show in his top three though I felt that devoting an hour to puns was a bit heavy. The puns were good as a series of one liners but it becomes tiresome to focus on each successive punch line. That complaint is a lot more minor than it sounds, the afternoon was delightful and the visual puns were perhaps my favourite because it diversified the show a bit. I think Richard did a disservice to himself with some lack of confidence with the puns, most of which were very funny. It went on a bit long for me, but for someone that loves puns – that’s the show you pick.
Next we saw the Men With Coconuts, with most of my family joining to see it. The show was side splitting as always. It’s hard to review an improv show because it can vary so much from night to night and audience to audience, but I think this improv team is consistently excellent. The Birth of Stalin musical at the end was cute and they are all great singers. I actually believe the show gets better as the years go by as they all improve. Colin on the piano was a lot more involved than I remembered him being last year and I think Will’s singing voice was better. These guys are so brilliant that you have to reserve tickets by the end of the week as their last shows are usually sold out.
Then we rushed out as we stuffed sandwiches in our faces to see The Age of Consequence at 3+1. I’m still not really sure what to make of it. The strobe lights, loud music, shocking imagery and language used in the performance combines to create a very intense chaotic atmosphere. The first sight as you walk in through the white strobe is a man face down in a bowl of water, belching and spluttering. It doesn’t feel so much a call to action as a desperate cry into the void for help. There are so many different ideas coming in from different places about all the political trauma the world endures at the moment that it’s hard to pull a message less vague than ‘anti-fascism’ out of it. It was impressive but I’m not sure if it had the intended effect. Then again, I’m even less sure of what the intended effect was. I would be curious to know how most people react to that.
Following that intense performance, my brother and I went to see Viggo Venn: The Life of Pepito which can best be described as a series of short sketches and a lot of improvisational mime. Oh, and the poster doesn’t lie about the free cookies, so make sure you go to the front of the line before the chocolate ones go. Pepito is a wonderful oddball character. Last year I almost bought a Zach and Viggo ticket but was put off by their description as ‘clowns’. If that title has the same effect on you, give it a go anyway because I was extremely pleasantly surprised. It’s a funny show!
You can check out the festival’s full programme, here.