Hans Teeuwen, Udderbelly Pasture, Edinburgh
Thursday 27 August 2009
The Dutch comedy icon Hans Teeuwen cuts a ridiculous figure. Ludicrous even. Which is no bad thing for a 42-year old absurdist who, perhaps against the cultural odds, is becoming a regular on the UK comedy scene.
Cult and rarely topical, Teeuwen looks as if he is going to break both of those perceptions with a tribute to Michael Jackson at the top of the show. However, rather than counting as populist material, the medley of "Beat It" and other hits is awkward, shuffling and contorted. Yes, welcome to Hans's world where the tension is better out than in, a sentiment that some of his detractors take literally, though there are few walkouts tonight.
With the subject of death duly despatched in the first 10 minutes (it's either "an atmosphere killer" or "an escape button"), the only way is up for this brisk and neurotic parade of life's anxieties. After the "big D", the "big R", religion, is beaten around the head by this jester. He says he has a friend who is a Jew and then sounds out the word until it loses meaning. He does the same with the world Muslim. "What a pity there's no God" is his glorious piece of punctuation for the routine.
His closing musical number about female genitalia is an exercise in shock and awe. He blunts the "C-bomb" by repetition while the sing-along nature of the piece makes people feel they are being saucy-postcard rude rather than making an unforgivable transgression.
Playing a venue that also houses the likes of Julian Clary, Jim Jeffries and Rhys Darby, Teeuwen offers an alternative to more mainstream mirth. While not every sequence will resonate, those that do you can feel in your gut.
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