NZICF 2013: Doctor Brown in Befrdfgth

Dr Brown in Befrdfgth

They say silence is golden and this could not ring truer with Doctor Brown’s befrdfgth – the name alone should spark enough curiosity to get a ticket!  This award-winning wordless show is one of the strangest most ridiculous theatrical acts I have ever seen.

The tension and anticipation that builds in the first ten minutes really foreshadows what is to come that is us, the audience, waiting with bated breath both in trepidation and excitement at what the cloaked wizard-esque Doctor Brown will do next.  The show starts off innocently enough – a sneaky bag-snatching and a playful game of tag with members of the audience.  We are lulled into a false sense of security that this is all the show is going to be about.

When the Doctor finally reveals himself we are thrown headfirst in to the rabbit hole, very much like Alice in Wonderland.  Through animated hand gestures and often comical facial expressions, Doctor Brown embodies a number of characters and we are transported to many odd places, each one getting weirder than the next.  It is not immediately clear what is happening, or what Doctor Brown is trying to tell us.  This is definitely a show that requires you to have an open mind and allow your imagination to run wild.

Doctor Brown challenges the boundaries of theatre and breaks the Fourth Wall as he runs around invading people’s personal space, clambering over audience members and even throwing personal items away (one was a reviewer’s notepad – glad it wasn’t mine!).  The whole theater becomes the stage and audience members become potential playthings or participants in the madness that unfolds.

It’s not easy holding an audience’s attention for a whole hour particularly without using words but Phil Burgers does this effortlessly and masterfully.  Stuart Bowden, the other performer on stage may only jump in intermittently and on cue but his natural aptitude with the humble ukulele provide the perfect soundtrack for this very bizarre anti-comedy.

Doctor Brown in befrdfgth is wonderfully weird, utterly unpredictable and absolutely hysterical!  A dark yet whimsical world of “absurdist mime” that every avid theatre goer must experience.

The Whimsical Banana rates Doctor Brown’s befrdfgth:  4/5 bananas!

Doctor Brown in befrdfgth is on for two more nights at the Herald Theatre – for tickets, click here.

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