Posted on Jul 23, 2013
4 out of 5
Maybe a mistake was made in not reading the synopsis for “Twisted Beats and Circus Feats” before going to see it at the KC Ballet Bolender Center on Saturday, July 20th. Five minutes into this show, if you don’t know what the point is, you become staggeringly afraid that there is not one. The plot is simple, but it becomes a game of Tetris with events in the story just dropping from the sky into arbitrary places. Don’t get it wrong; this show’s quirky antics are fun and exciting, but it’s weird to the point that the alienation of the audience sets in almost immediately. As the two-person team from Australia creates a strange and charming whirlwind of a story, the audience better prepare themselves for what will be a very, VERY interesting show.
The props, the music, the costumes, and the lighting are all spot-on for this zany production, invoking laughter from a somewhat hesitant and alienated audience. Many props (not to be confused with PROPS) should go to the technician who accompanies the energetic performers, profane puppets, and angry sharks in their comedic efforts.
Introducing himself as “Mezzy Jezzy,” this off-the-beaten-path MC bounds onto the stage with so much energy that you start to fear for his physical safety. And as an odd MC, this character works, but when he starts getting into Stand-Up Comic territory, his quality slightly declines. With a kid-like mentality coupled with moments of possible mental illness, Mezzy Jezzy eventually works his way into his viewers’ hearts with interloping moments of utter heart-break and absolute folly; and as a result, the audience becomes unsure what to think about lyrics such as “I am the monster under your bed.” He mixes so many styles of performance like acting, rapping, stand-up, ventriloquism, acrobats, juggling (which he compares to the act of hooking up with girls), and just plain tom-foolery that it’s hard not to feel like you might develop Tourette’s at any given moment. The outstanding moments for Jezzy are his juggling act and his puppet act, which pays off later when the wind-up doll has her puppet moment.
One thing that is not hard to grasp is the crazy amount of talent his co-star (the lovely wind-up doll) had. With a truly creepy, doll-like face, this actress is the perfect addition to Mezzy Jezzy’s schemes. As a contortionist, a Lyra artist, a dancer, and an actress, she gives the audience more than their $10 worth with her Lyra routine alone.
The struggle of this show lies in trying to discern if this show was originally meant for children or if it was always intended to alienate adult audiences all over the world; clearly, the moment when he is jerking off the shark that has attacked his privates surely wouldn’t work at a 6-year-old’s birthday party. After awhile, a general sense of “Oh, fuck it” rests in your psyche, and you just give up trying to understand -- and that’s when the enjoyment really sets in. Maybe crazy Mezzy Jezzy’s intention was to get us to stop trying to figure it out. This show is worth the money and the trip to rediscover all the odd impulses that lie within other people…and ourselves. You won’t leave thinking “What an outstanding show!,” but you will leave a little different than you came.