This is a very silly show which, in all honesty, wasn’t my thing at all. I just didn’t get it, but I also have to report that a number of audience members strongly disagreed. Frank Wurzinger has impressed them big time and they love his character, Gunther. I can’t disregard the superlatives like “amazing” and “wonderful” which they used to describe the show – though I can’t really endorse them either.
In any case, Wurzinger is certainly to be admired: he has front, I’ll give him that. It’s not everyone who has courage to put on a bizarre show like this, jam-packed with ridiculous scenes and a banal selection of props including a toilet brush and a “Knees up Mother Brown” CD.
He appears to be making it up as he goes along: it’s so haphazard, right from the minute he arrives on stage in devil’s hooded cloak, and knocks over a broken standard lamp. (As an aside, Health and Safety might have a field day here.) He introduces himself – Gunther – and reveals he shall soon die. Incredibly, rather than spoil the ending, this allows one to relax, albeit that he makes successive references to death and mortality which are quite a lot to digest at lunchtime on a festival day.
Not everyone laughs, including me in the front row. Yet he continues, cleverly drawing in two women beside me who he can tell are enjoying themselves. As his “favourite audience members”, they get to blow soap bubbles.
Another man in the front row has to keep pressing the button on top of a plastic tank to keep Michelle the goldfish, Gunther’s best friend, swimming. After starring as supporting actor throughout, Michelle gets flushed down the loo at the end; it’s better for Michelle as there’s no one to look after her when he goes.
Gunther displays his pill box, full to the brim in every compartment, named for every day of the week. Predictably he drops coloured pills all over the floor. He picks out a white one, pops it in his mouth. What is it? A tic tac for bad breath. Exactly, this isn’t funny on its own, but the whole is better than the sum of its parts.
Close to the end Gunther crawls through a lengthy turquoise nylon tube and dances with it from the inside. Is he on his way to hell? Whatever, he pulls off this crazy feat with aplomb.
You have to hand it to Wurzinger: what on earth inspired him, how did he come to work this all out? Is it creative genius or absolute rubbish? You decide.