Review: Nothing is Really Difficult (Niets Is Echt Moeilijk)

by Jane

Nothing Is Really Difficult, Dutch theatre group WAK would like you to believe. Except, it would seem for these three characters. For them, performing is difficult. Really difficult.

Seemingly unbeknown to Bart Strijbos, Dorus van der Meer and Toon Kuijpers, they are about to fall (literally, or rise from under the floor, or stumble) in to a performance, directly in front of an audience. Then they have forty-five minutes to bumble through and entertain their audience.

Nothing Is Really Difficult. But I feel this might be, just a tad.

Performing essentially a series of disjointed clowning sketches, the show is most successful when the power of the purpose built box (rebuilt in Adelaide over several 40°C days) which WAK performs this show in is shown and exploited. The bend of floor-boards, the breaking in of the roof, running and swinging through doors, climbing around near the ceiling, falling through walls: the integration of the nervous and excitable energy of these characters within a space created specifically for them is where this show has the most life.

The seemingly simple box and design also allows for play with light and the shadows it creates, something which the three men find great joy – or perhaps, more accurately, great frustration – in.   And while the joke of the show is within the awkwardness they find in being asked to perform, there are still illusions and recognition of light and sound operators – recognition that, while perhaps not traditional, this box is a theatre with the advantages (sound, lights) and trappings (an audience) it brings.

Occasionally, sketches and jokes outstay their welcome.  But then Strijbos, van der Meer and Kuijpers come back striking with another huge laugh.  Often surprising: I didn’t always realise how funny something struck me until I heard myself laugh.

Also surprising is perhaps how this show is not completely suitable for a young audience.  When trying to escape doesn’t work, the three start trying to best each other.  And one of the ways they attempt to do this?   Who-has-the-bigger-package competition, of course!  It does all stay within pants, though.

And then this happens:

Perhaps best not to stare directly at it...

Performed largely without words, just sneaky glances and awkward smiles, the three can be seen walking around the Garden spruiking their show and cutting out wooden flyers for your enjoyment and delight.  While slightly eccentric, they seem okay out in the open.  It’s when you get them alone in the box something difficult starts to happen.

Theatergroep WAK present Nothing Is Really Difficult: Niets Is Echt Moeilijk with Bart Strijbos, Dorus van der Meer and Toon Kuijpers.  The Garden of Unearthly Delights (in the big wooden box),  most nights at 7pm, 8:30pm and 10pm throughout the festival.  More information and tickets.