I am told this year’s show by Dutch comic Hans Teeuwen borrows a lot of material from last year’s short run at the Udderbelly. Last year Mr Teeuwen burst onto the Edinburgh comedy scene to much hype and many 4 and 5 star reviews. Few reviews have been written for this year’s show, but it would seem the knives are out for ‘Smooth and Painful’. Having never seen Hans before I could only review what I found. And what I found was an hour of surreal, inventive, often uncomfortable but totally memorable comedy. Hans is a huge big gust of Dutch fresh air; a sharp contrast to the clone army of comedians invading the Fringe.
Don’t expect conventional comedy from Hans Teeuwen - it’s surreal character acting played out at a tornado’s pace. The mannerisms and conviction of Hans Teeuwen suck you into his own nonsensical world. The giant, the lion and the unwelcome fox in his ‘fantasy forest’ become images conjured in your own imagination. The son who can’t get to sleep out of fear of a shark attacking him, soon realises it’s not thoughts of the shark which will keep him awake. All of these strange scenarios are acted out on stage; sometimes it’s uncomfortable, but it is all hugely compelling.
Hans is an accomplished musician. Piano interludes and a rendition of Mozart using his teeth add balance to the show. Hans finishes Smooth and Painful with a crude song, which is beneath him and most of the audience. When he encourages folk to sing along, it’s only those who have had one too many ciders who take the bait.
Nothing is taboo with Teeuwen, which helps explain the steady stream of folk leaving the Pleasance Courtyard’s Beyond venue. If provocation offends you, then find a different show. By the end of Smooth and Painful I don’t believe a single person left seated didn’t have a firm opinion on Hans, whether love or hate.
Smooth and painful is genuinely different. It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but the vividness and raw energy of Hans Teeuwen make this show compelling viewing. Recommended.
Hans Teeuwen Smooth and Painful is showing at The Pleasance Courtyard (Beyond) until 29th August 2010 (excluding Wednesdays). Â£15.